The days here on the ranch can be a little crazy: getting up at 6 for feeding and milking, tending the garden, trying to make it in for breakfast by 10. New paddocks for the pigs always need building, it seems, something always needs fixing, the perennial pile of laundry continually calls, and what to do with the surprisingly large volume of milk one little goat produces in a day? By 4:30 we’re dashing out to feed and milk again – and then comes that question: “What are we having for supper?”
I’m sure a lot of you out there are familiar with that refrain – and I’m also sure that you know the “I don’t know!” feeling that is so often the response! And while I don’t have any human children, I do have 93 chickens, 54 pigs, 19 turkeys, and 2 mischievous goats to take care of here – some days get just a little out of control. And if cold food will suffice to answer “What are we having for supper?”, yes, I pull out a can of tuna. But if we all need hot food NOW, the answer is almost always egg pie.
I’ve heard that in some parts this dish has a fancy name like “fritatta” or something, but that sounds a little too fiddly and complicated for my taste, so around here we call it “aig pie.” The genius of egg pie is that as long as you’ve got 6 eggs and some veg in the fridge, you’ve got egg pie. Easy to throw together on short notice, yes, but it also helps me use up all those odds and ends that tend to accumulate in my fridge – as well as things that I’ve forgotten about that are threatening to go bad (like those mushrooms I always buy but somehow always end up all the way in the back). The recipe I’m including here today is our favorite chance-if-chance-you-call-it combination, but you can swap out any/all of the veg, herbs, and cheese for the things you have available. The only non-negotiable part is the 6 eggs (and the bacon fat, in my house).
(A note on the pan: this recipe works in a 10-inch nonstick skillet. Yes, the pan size is important because all the ingredients need to fit without overflowing – or becoming too thinly spread. And please, make it a good nonstick pan or your egg pie will become permanently attached to the skillet. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!)
2 tbsp. milk (any kind that isn’t sweetened) (optional)
1 tbsp. bacon fat
2-4 oz. mushrooms, sliced
1 bunch spring onions, sliced
2-4 handfuls of spinach
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. dried thyme
¼ tsp. pepper
3 oz. soft goat cheese, divided into 6 patties
Crack 6 eggs into a medium-sized bowl and add the milk (if using.) Whisk with a fork until well combined and set aside.
Preheat the broiler to full whack and position the top rack about 6 inches away from the heating element.
Warm the bacon fat in a 10-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and spring onions and cook for 3-4 minutes until the vegetables begin to soften. Add the spinach and the salt and cook for a further 1-2 minutes until the spinach wilts. Add the dried thyme and pepper to the pan and stir to distribute.
Turn down the heat to medium low and pour the egg mixture over the vegetables. Stir to distribute the vegetables throughout the egg mixture for about 1 minute, then allow the eggs to cook undisturbed for 2 minutes. Gently sweep a spatula around the edge of the pan to check that the eggs aren’t sticking to the pan. Cook for 1 further minute undisturbed. The top of the egg mixture will remain watery, but the sides will begin to bubble and appear set.
Remove the pan from the heat and slide it under the broiler (handle poking out!) for 1 minute. The egg mixture will begin to look set but will not be fully cooked. Remove the pan from the broiler (use a towel- the handle could be hot!) and arrange the 6 goat cheese patties on top of your pie. Return the pan to the broiler for another 1-1 ½ minutes until the eggs are set and lightly browned.
Remove the pan from the broiler and jiggle the pan gently to ensure that your pie is not sticking. Cool in the pan for 1-2 minutes before sliding the eggs out onto a cutting board or serving platter. Cut into wedges for serving – I like to slice mine with a pizza wheel!
Tasty, quick, easy, and beautiful, too. What more can you ask for in a last minute supper?