Sunday, March 06, 2016

Manly Quiche

My Sweetie is manly enough that he doesn't worry too much about the old saying that real men don't eat quiche. He is quite fond of quiche. Of course it might be because I make a manly quiche that includes bacon...BACON...and two kinds of cheese, a flaky crust, and is baked in a deep pie plate, so the slices are hefty, too. It helps that he cut his own slice and wasn't shy about making it the size he preferred.

I've made this quiche many times and I usually try out different additions to the filling. I've used spinach, chard, and mushrooms, for example. Today we had fresh asparagus in the fridge, so I steamed them just a little until they were bright green, then laid them on the bottom of the quiche, right on top of the blind baked crust. That wonderful bacon, cooked until crisp, was torn up into pieces and put on top of the asparagus.

Then I added my mystery cheeses. They are a mystery because I've stayed away from the cheese bin for months and neither of these were labeled. There were two; one soft like Monterey Jack and one firmer, like white cheddar. I diced them up and they more than filled the cup measure. Over it all I poured a mixture of eggs, evaporated milk, dried thyme and ground pepper. This is the mixture that makes the custard that binds it all together and it's my favorite part. Too bad that milk and cheese are off my menu for now.

That's it. Not difficult as long as you allow enough time to blind bake the crust. You can cook the bacon while the crust is baking, then prep the asparagus and cut up the cheese. I used a 2 cup glass measuring cup for beating the eggs and mixing in the milk, thyme and pepper. The quiche itself bakes for a little over 1/2 hour and then cools for 10 minutes so you don't burn yourself on melted cheese. It goes well with a green salad, but it can stand alone if you are not too hungry since it has veggie, protein and carb in one handy package.

Quiche with Swiss Chard and Swiss Cheese and Bacon
1 9-inch pie shell (I use Pillsbury Pie Crusts from the deli case, but you can use your favorite pie        crust recipe, too), blind baked at 425 degrees F for 10-12 minutes (recipe follows)
3 slices bacon, cut into small pieces and cooked until crisp, then drained
8-10 spears fresh asparagus, trimmed and steamed 2-3 minutes, then cooled in ice water, then drained
1 cup Swiss cheese, cut into ¼ inch dice or any cheese combination you like
3 eggs (or equivalent egg substitute)
1 ½ cups evaporated milk (I used 2%) or light cream
¼ teaspoon salt
dash pepper
Dash dried thyme (about 1/8 teaspoon)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Lay the prepared asparagus on the bottom of the blind baked pie shell in a nice pattern. Sprinkle evenly with the bacon. Sprinkle evenly with the Swiss cheese or cheese combination. Set aside.

In a bowl, beat the eggs lightly, then add the milk and beat with a fork to combine, add the salt, pepper and thyme and beat with a fork to combine.

Pour the egg/milk mixture over the ingredients in the pie shell. Place in the preheated oven and bake 30-45 minutes, or until set and lightly browned. Cool for 10 minutes before cutting to serve.
Serves 6-8

Blind Baking the Crust
Fit one ready-made or rolled out pie crust into a 9 inch pie pan, smooth to fit, trim excess, tuck edges under and crimp as for any pie crust. Prick lightly all over the surface with a fork. Freeze 10 minutes.

Remove from freezer and cover with a circle of parchment paper. Fill the paper with beans, lentils or pie weights.

Bake at 425 degrees F for 10 – 12 minutes. Cool slightly. Remove and save the beans or pie weights.

Fill with filling as called for in recipes needing a pie shell.

Tip: If you use a pound of dried beans or lentils as pie weights, as I do, save them once they have cooled off and you can use them again and again as pie weights...just don't plan on cooking them to eat. Be sure to label their container "Pie Weights". At about a dollar and a half for a bag of dried beans, it sure beats the almost $9 you would pay for Pie Weights from King Arthur Flour or a similar amount at Sur la Table.

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