Sausage and Spinach Turnovers

February 21st, 2015

Sausage Turnovers 1

What a fun meal!  I am going to adapt this idea to all kinds of different fillings.  Meat pies, or pasties, have a long tradition.  When Cornish miners migrated to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula in the 1800’s they brought this meat pie recipe with them.  It was later adopted by the wave of Finnish miners who followed.  It was easy to eat while underground.  The miners reheated their hand pies on shovels set over mining candles.

Sausage Turnovers 4VI have mentioned before that David’s Mother’s family were Finnish and settled in the UP.  Their last name was Syrjanen.  David’s Grandfather Gus Syrjanen founded the Trenary Home Bakery that is still in operation today.  It is known for its Trenary Toast.  There is also a family connection to designers and architects Eliel and Eero Saarinen.  When we were in the UP researching family history we enjoyed eating pasties at several small restaurants.  At the time, David did not love them, but the version I made this time was a real hit.

Sausage Turnovers 3 Better

It was probably the hot chicken sausage that did it for him.  Most pasty recipes use ground beef and potatoes, which can be rather bland.  This was very tasty with the sausage, onions, red bell peppers and spinach.  The crust was made from Pillsbury pie dough so was easy to assemble.  You could make your own pastry but I needed a quick dinner the night that I made these.  They were perfect over a tossed salad.

Sausage Turnover 6

Pasties or hand pies are so versatile.  You can fill them with anything.  How about a Mexican filling with ground beef, cumin, salsa and cheese.  Or make it vegetarian with black beans and cheese.  My DIL Kristen made a version using pizza dough, seasoned chicken, sour cream and cheese.  There are so many possibilities.

SAUSAGE AND SPINACH TURNOVERS (Adapted from Cooking Light Magazine )

1 Tablespoon canola oil
1 Medium red potato, peeled and diced
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1 small yellow onion, diced
2 (3.5 oz.) links of hot chicken Italian sausage, casings removed
3 cups bagged washed baby spinach
2 Tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
Salt to taste
1/2 package refrigerated pie dough (such as Pillsbury)
1 tablespoon water
1 large egg white, lightly beaten
3 tablespoons grated fresh Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Add oil.  Add potatoes, bell pepper, and onion to pan; saute 4 minutes or until onion begins to brown, stirring frequently.  Add sausage; cook 4 minutes or until browned, stirring to crumble.  Stir in spinach; cook 2 minutes or until spinach wilts.  Stir in basil, crushed red pepper, and salt.  Remove from heat.

Cut dough into 4 equal portions.  Roll each portion into a 5-inch circle.  Spoon about 1/2 cup sausage mixture on half of each circle, leaving a 1/2-inch border.  Fold dough over sausage mixture until edges almost meet.  Bring bottom edge of dough over top edge; crimp edges of dough to form a rim.

Place turnovers on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray.  Combine 1 tablespoon water and egg white in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk; brush evenly over dough.  Sprinkle about 2 teaspoons cheese over each turnover.  Bake at 400 degrees for 18 minutes or until golden brown.  Let stand at least 5 minutes before serving.

Printable Recipe

26 responses to “Sausage and Spinach Turnovers”

  1. It’s such fun to look into one’s family history. Your pies are so crispy Penny. At first glance I thought they were fried, but pleased to see that they were baked. I gave up frying a long time ago, primarily because I wasn’t good at it and now I’m glad I never mastered it. Great meal over salad for our chilly nights.

  2. Monique says:

    Like Sam..we hardly ever fried.. and have not in at least 10years.
    I have a beautiful fryer that was a gift from a freind..
    But we just aren’t fryers.
    For the novelty it is fun..Zucchini blossoms..coconut shrimp..etc.I like my coconut shrimp just as well baked:)

    These do look good and so special.
    So many nationalities have stuffed little types of pasties..such as empanadas..toutières etc..
    Everything in one cute package:)

  3. Larry says:

    We had ate first pasties in Sep 2013 and I enjoyed them but I know I would like your kicked up version even better and using the purchased pie dough makes it more appealing for me to try them.

  4. Madonna says:

    I pinned these Penny. I think they will make a great lunch minus the shovel. 🙂 I have only fried once in 26 years. The smell hung in my stairwell for a week, that did it for me. I have often thought I would get a fryer and make things on the patio, but have yet to act on it.

    btw, love your green green plate.

  5. Penny @ The Comforts of Home says:

    I love pasties! Yours sounds wonderful and I love that you made it easier by using ready made pie crust. Kent and I love fried food, but know that it is not good for us so we splurged this Christmas and bought a hot air fryer at Williams-Sonoma. It is wonderful! It “fries” with hot air!

  6. Maureen says:

    I’m so glad you mentioned someone using pizza dough, saved me having to ask you that question. Can’t wait to try them. Thanks!

  7. Monique says:

    Hi Penny..I did a search.. vintage herb scissors.. and many came up on images..

    Just an example…

    Even Amazon had some….:)

  8. Susan says:

    That’s so interesting about your husband’s family, Penny! I’ve never had a pastie but think I would love your version too. I grew up eating many delicious Danish pastries instead of pasties 🙂

  9. Barbara says:

    Nothing I like better than a N. Michigan pastie! There was a bakery in Petoskey that had the best pasties I’ve ever tasted…tried to copy, failed. Will try yours, Penny. They look fabulous. Baking is the only way I’ve ever made them.
    (I went to the Cranbrook Schools (huge on Saarinen) for boarding school, even took weaving. It was the opportunity of a lifetime. My kids attended as well until we moved to Florida in 1970.)

    • Penny says:

      How interesting that you went to the Cranbrook school. I have always been fascinated by the Saarinens. The St. Louis Arch is amazing, as are the furniture pieces. Our Son wanted to be an architect; he had both artistic and mathematical talent, but chose computer engineering instead.

  10. I can see why David would like your version, they sound delicious. What brand of chicken hot Italian sausage do you use…I don’t think I’ve seen it here.

  11. Penny says:

    Publix has a “Greenwise” (organic) Italian chicken sausage in their stores. It comes in mild and hot flavors. We used the hot.

  12. These looks so much better than the ones I made as a newly wed. The recipe was from one of the Time Life Books (Cooking of the British Isles). They were terrible. I don’t know if it was because I was a novice or the recipe wasn’t a good one. I am now tempted to try again!!


  13. Katie Zeller says:

    These would be great for picnics. I agree that most pasties can use a little spice and these sound wonderful… sausage and peppers are favorites.

  14. Penny says:

    Thanks Katie. I can hardly wait for picnic season.

  15. Cassie says:

    Thanks so much for your comment! Yes, I love how simple these little hand pies are to make with Pillsbury pie crust on-hand (no pun intended!) Easy to mix and match whatever you have lying around that needs to be used up! Your sausage and spinach variety sounds yummy — Richard and I are pescetarians, but we do love the Morningstar veggie sausages, so I’m sure I could substitute that!! xx Cassie

    • Penny says:

      I’m sure you could Cassie. Thanks for the tip because we have a great couple coming to Lake Lure from your area with our kids this summer. She and her daughter (age 4) are vegetarians. The boys in the family will eat anything (and in great quantities, ages 12 and 14). So I could make many hand pies; some meat, some vegie. Great idea. All of you young people inspire me. xx Penny

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