In a pinch over meal ideas in this time of quarantine cooking? Here is a simple dish that comes together quickly, tastes great and can be served for breakfast, lunch or dinner! An added bonus is it can be prepped and cooked in the same pan!
I came up with the idea for this puff pie while fiddling around with some cornbread mixes I had in my pantry that were getting ready to expire. Rule number one during this quarantine was to take stock of what I had in the pantry and use the stuff getting ready to expire first.
The flavor combinations usable in this pie are endless! You can use any variety of cooked, chopped veggies, with or without meat and/or cheese. I love the spring greens and feta cheese version of this puff pie. My family’s favorite version of the pie includes spinach, fresh basil, corn, parmesan cheese and chopped prosciutto.
Turn it into a sweet breakfast/dessert puff pie by adding 1/4 cup sugar to the cornbread mix and stirring in 1 cup of fresh berries, applesauce or even pre-made jam! A sprinkling of toasted almonds and powdered sugar over the top before serving will give it a “fresh from the bakery” finish.
The recipe that follows is for a Spring Greens version of the pie.
Spring Greens Puff Pie
1 cup water
3 cups fresh baby spinach, rinsed
1 cup fresh parsley leaves, rinsed, plus 6-8 leaves extra for garnish
2 cups fresh asparagus, rinsed, trimmed and sliced into small pieces on the bias
1/3 cup chopped scallion/green onion (both green and white parts)
3/4 cup whole milk
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 six ounce package Cornbread Mix (or 1/2 cup cornmeal, plus 1/4 cup all-purpose flour sifted with 3/4 teaspoon baking powder and 1/4 teaspoon baking soda)
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 cup canned cannellini beans or garbanzo beans, rinsed, drained and dried
1/2 cup feta cheese
Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
Pour 1 cup water into a seasoned 10 inch skillet. Put burner on high heat and when water comes to a boil, reduce heat to medium. Add the spinach, parsley, asparagus and green onion and stir with a spoon gently just until all greens are wilted.
Turn heat off and using a slotted spoon, remove contents of the skillet to a large plate lined with a clean dishtowel or paper towels, letting greens drain a little in the spoon before putting on the plate.
Fold towel or paper towels over to cover and let cool completely.
You should have about 1/4 cup water left in the skillet, leave it there.
Add the milk, butter, salt, pepper and nutmeg to the skillet and cook over medium heat until butter is melted. Turn off heat and stir in all of the cornbread mix at once, mix until all of the cornbread mix is wet. It will look clumpy and a little sandy. Remove skillet from heat and let cool 10 minutes.
Add 3 of the eggs, one at a time, stirring vigorously after each addition. Crack the last egg into a cup and beat lightly. Add all but 1 tablespoon of egg to the skillet and stir it in. Set the remaining beaten egg aside.
Stir in the lemon zest and juice. Gently stir the spinach mixture, the cheese and cannellini beans into the cornbread mixture in the skillet. Smooth out the top of the puff pie with the back of a spoon so it bakes evenly. Brush the top of the pie with the remaining beaten egg.
Place the pie immediately in the oven and bake for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and bake for 20 to 25 more minutes. Pie should be light golden brown all over, and not jiggly when being pulled from the oven.
Remove pie from oven, let cool for 10 minutes. To serve, cut into six or eight wedges.
Garnish with a sprig of fresh parsley.
Remove leftover pie slices from skillet and store in the refrigerator.
To reheat from refrigeration, place slices of pie in the toaster oven and toast on medium for 3-5 minutes.
You can easily substitute a gluten-free cornbread mix for the regular mix in this recipe and it will work perfectly. In fact, the first time I made it I used a gluten-free cornbread mix.
If you don’t have access to gluten-free cornbread mix, make an easy substitution of 1/2 cup cornmeal and 1/4 cup any gluten free flour mix (adding 1/2 teaspoon of xanthan gum if your mix doesn’t contain it).