“September Tomatoes, Bacon & Spinach Pie with Thyme-Pepper Crust”

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The September tomatoes…the ripe red ones that hang on vines starting to droop, vines heavy with green tomatoes that will never see red…these ripe homegrowns are the sweetest of the season I think. They are summer’s last gift before it is all a memory.

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What to do with the last few tomatoes just picked? A BLT…a jar of tomato sauce…a pie? Yes. I love to make pies.  A deep savory pie it will be.

A crust using fresh lemon thyme from my garden along with some freshly ground black peppercorns is where I will start.

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I am a fan of the springform pan for tarts & pies as well as for cake. A straight sided savory pie is just so beautiful.

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Thick sliced homegrown tomatoes salted and draining on paper towels before adding to the pie helps pull out some of the water before using. I do not want this pie to be too watery.

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The spinach & ricotta filling  is creamy enough to hold up the next layers.

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Filling topped with thick sliced toms and crispy, thick sliced bacon torn into pieces.

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Creamy spinach filling, salty-sweet September tomatoes & crispy bacon. Let’s eat! DSC_1955

September Tomatoes, Bacon & Spinach Pie

  • Servings: 6-8
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Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cups unbleached flour with a pinch of salt added
  • 1 stick cold butter cut into small pieces
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black peppercorns
  • a few tablespoons cold water
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 3 med homegrown tomatoes sliced thickly/or 1 large tomato & some cherry toms
  • 1 cup whole fat ricotta
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup fresh spinach steamed, drained & chopped
  • 4 slices thick bacon, cooked crispy & broken into pieces
  • sea salt & freshly ground black peppercorns

Directions:

  1. For crust put the flour, pinch of salt, thyme leaves & pepper in a food processor & pulse a few times. Add cold butter pieces, pulse a few more times until incorporated.
  2. With machine running drizzle in ice-cold water until a dough ball forms. Flatten dough into a disk, wrap in plastic and chill for 30 minutes before rolling out.
  3. In the meantime, place thickly sliced tomatoes on paper towels & sprinkle with some sea or kosher salt. Let sit for 20 minutes. This will pull some of the moisture out of the tomatoes. Right before adding to the pie pat dry again with dry paper towels.
  4. Preheat oven to 350. Roll chilled dough out on a floured board into a circle large enough to fit into & half-way up the sides of  a 9″ springform  pan.
  5. Spray pan bottom & sides with cooking spray. Fit dough into the pan bottom & half way up sides. Crimp and fold to make an even top edge. Set aside.
  6. In a mixing bowl whisk together the ricotta and eggs, 1/2 tsp each salt & pepper,  until fluffy. Stir in drained & chopped spinach. Mix well.
  7. Sprinkle the crumbled feta over the bottom of the dough. Top with the ricotta-spinach mixture. Add tomato slices. Scatter the crispy bacon pieces over all.
  8.  Bake for 35-45 minutes or until puffy & golden brown and center is set. Cover with a sheet of foil if the top starts getting too brown.  Let rest for 20 min. before cutting.

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Citrus & Thyme Soppin’ Good Roasted Spring Chicken

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Dear Readers, Lest you think that I, Food on Fifth, sit around my kitchen all day eating tartlets, upside down cakes, spoon breads and pound cakes I am branching out this week.  As it is Spring here in Nashville in the best and most perfect sense of the word I am sharing our dinner from a week or so ago, a juicy citrus & thyme roasted chicken. A fresh, bright flavor due to all the citrus, very crispy skin, lots of juice in the bottom of the pan served alongside a freshly baked baguette from flour.sugar.eggs. for soppin’ & a bowl of lightly dressed arugula….an easy Spring dinner…oh my, so good.

Here is what you will need:

a good quality, Plump Roasting Chicken (I got this beauty from my local                        CSA, “Fresh Harvest”. This is just the best as you can choose what you want each week, order & pay online and the variety of choices is just astounding…meats, vegs, flowers, cheeses, bread, eggs…all organically grown from farms in the Nashville, TN area.)

 Whole Fresh Citrus – mandarins, oranges, clementines, lemons, grapefruit, whatever you have + 1/2 cup Orange Juice & 1/4 cup Lemon Juice freshly squeezed

Fresh Thyme Leaves (I have a Lemon Thyme in my garden so I used that.)

A few whole, peeled roasted garlic cloves & shallots

Olive oil, salt & freshly ground pepper

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Here is what to do:

1. Wash chicken inside and out under cool running water. Pat dry. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Drizzle some olive oil in the bottom of a roasting pan. Cut citrus into halves & chunks. Slice one lemon thinly.

2. Place the chicken in the roasting pan. Using your fingers (gloves if you prefer) gently loosen the skin over the breast of the chicken & insert a few lemon slices & thyme sprigs under the skin. Stuff the inside of the chicken with the shallots, a few sprigs of thyme & chunks of citrus. Tie the legs together using kitchen twine. Rub the outside of the skin with olive oil & sprinkle with salt & pepper & fresh thyme leaves.

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3. Place all the citrus pieces around the chicken along with the garlic cloves & thyme sprigs. Pour the orange juice & lemon juice into the pan. Roast for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until a meat thermometer inserted into the thicken part of the breast reads 165 degrees. I basted the chicken every so often with the pan juices.

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Serve pieces of chicken with some of the pan juices & roasted citrus, a crusty baguette for soppin’ and a simple arugula salad.

Oh My, Hello Spring!