From the archives….

On September 6, 2009, feeling the first chill in the air and longing for comfort food, I created a recipe for Pork-Apple-Cheddar Pockets, and posted about it on my cooking blog, Gastropology.  I honestly didn’t know that blog was still around!  I thought I’d deleted everything!

Well, I’d been meaning to post about these pockets here on Snicklenose, because they’ve become one of our go-to comfort meals.  Here’s my recipe, after a few updates:

Ingredients:

1 – 1.5 lbs ground pork (or bulk sausage of your choice)

1 crisp  sweet apple, cored and diced, such as Braeburn, Pink Lady, or Honey Crisp.  Check out the Washington Apple Commission for suggestions. I leave the skin on mine, because I think it adds stronger apple flavor.

1/2 of a medium Walla Walla Sweet Onion, or a whole cipollini onion, diced.  If you can’t find Walla Walla onions in your store, you have my deepest sympathies.  You can use Vidalia, Mayan, or Maui, or any other sweet onion varieties.  I’m currently in love with cipollini onions….they are divine!

1 package frozen puff pastry sheets, like from Pepperidge Farm.  You’ll need two sheets, thawed in the fridge.

4 oz. Extra Sharp White Cheddar cheese, diced. I use half of an 8 oz. block of Tillamook Vintage White.  It’s kinda crumbly, so save those little shavings and crumbs, you’ll need them.

1 egg, beaten (for egg wash)

Salt, pepper, and/or whatever seasonings you want in the sausage.  Since I use plain ground pork, I just add Johnny’s Seasoning Salt, which has all the salt and pepper I want, plus a little paprika and other spices.  If you decide to use an Italian Sausage or Linguica, etc, you’ll likely not need this.  Breakfast sausage tends to be a little salty, so you won’t need to add much salt, if any.

Optional: a few pinches of a crunchy, light salt, like fleur de sel.  I once used a flaky pink Murray River salt from Australia, which was nice, but my favorite is Malden Smoked Sea Salt Flaky Crystals.

Instructions:

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.

Brown the sausage in a skillet with the diced onion.

Meanwhile, place a sheet of parchment paper on a baking sheet. A Silpat can work in a pinch as well.

Unfold a sheet of the puff pastry dough, cut it into four even squares, and place them on the lined baking sheet, with about an inch or so between each.  You can roll the pastry dough out if you wish, but try not to roll or handle it too much, as it will lose its “puff.”  Do the same for the other sheet and set aside.

When the sausage and onions are done, scoop equal amounts onto the pastry squares. Divide the diced apples and cheddar equally among the squares.  I just put them in little piles in the center of the squares.  It doesn’t have to be pretty, just make sure it’s all contained in the square.  You may have a tiny bit of extra sausage.  Don’t worry, just snack on it while these are baking!

Place the reserved squares of puff pastry on top of the sausage, apple, and cheese mixure.  Press your fingers around the sides to seal the pockets.  Brush the egg wash over the tops of the pockets and sprinkle the cheese crumbs (if you had any) from the cutting board over the tops of each.  I sprinkle a little of the crunchy salt on the tops of mine, just for a little kick of texture.

Place baking sheet in oven for 15-20 minutes.  They’ll be done when the tops of the puff pastry turn golden brown.

Serves 4, or two for dinner and two for breakfast.  They heat back up nicely in the oven at 350˚F for 20 minutes – just wrap them in foil first so they don’t continue to brown.

Enjoy!  This recipe is infinitely adaptable – change out the types of meat, fruit cheese, or seasoning and it’s totally reinvented.  I once did this with chicken breast and sweet potatoes!

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