Sunday, April 13, 2014

Ham and Mixed Greens Quiche with Cheddar and Parmesan

Quiche is a great way to use an excess of eggs, but we're picky quiche eaters.  We like quiche that is more filling than egg, so that the eggs hold everything together nicely, but the flavors of the other ingredients are much more prevalent in each bite.  We enjoy Breakfast Pie, but we also like it when there are other veggies involved.  

Nothing says spring to me like quiche.  If you have chickens of your own, undoubtedly you are getting more eggs each day this time of year.  The market is also loaded with tender greens of all varieties, and with Easter next weekend, you may find yourself with some leftover ham.  If so, make this pie.  

It is full-flavored with greens sauteed in garlic and onion and bits of chopped ham throughout.  It's a great way to use leftovers.  You can use any greens you have on hand.  The ones I have been getting at the farmer's market are mixed baby greens with Swiss chard, kale, arugula, and beet greens, but any variety or mix of varieties will do nicely. Alternately, if you have access to asparagus right now, it would be lovely in this pie in place of the greens.  Saute or roast it until crisp tender, and chop it up before adding it to the filling.  

Ham and Greens Quiche with Cheddar and Parmesan- makes 1 (9 in) pie 

Use any variety of greens you like for this quiche.  I use a blend of Swiss Chard, kale, arugula, and beet greens, but a single variety will work well.  If using baby greens, leave whole.  If the leaves are more mature, chop them into bite size pieces before cooking. 

2 Tbsp neutral flavored oil
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 packed cups of chopped greens- see note above 
1 cup baked ham, chopped 
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded and divided

Pie Crust:
4 cups of all-purpose flour 
1 Tbsp sugar 
2 tsp salt 
1 1/2 cups lard, chilled 
1 Tbsp vinegar 
1 egg 
1/2 cup cold water

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. 

For the crust:  Place the flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor.  Pulse several times to mix.  Place the lard in the food processor and pulse again until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Beat the vinegar, egg, and water together in a small bowl and slowly add the mixture to the food processor until the mixture comes together.  Divide the dough into 5 equal portioned disks (or 4 if making 10 inch pies).  Reserve one disk for the pie and wrap and freeze the remaining disks.  

Roll the disk for the pie into a 10 inch circle on a lightly floured surface.  Place the crust in a pie pan and crimp the edges.  Chill the crust while making the filling.  

For the filling:  Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the onion and cook 5 minutes until tender and translucent.  Add the garlic and cook 1 minute.  Add the greens to skillet, and stir to coat with the oil mixture.  Cook the greens, stirring occasionally, over medium heat 3-4 minutes until wilted down and becoming tender.  If using more mature greens, increase the time as needed.  Add the ham and cook 1 minute to warm through.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Place skillet ingredients in a bowl.  Add cheddar, 1/4 cup Parmesan, and eggs and stir to combine thoroughly.  Pour the filling into the prepared crust.  Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan over the top of the filling.  Bake quiche at 375 degrees for 25-35 minutes until the center is just set.  Remove from the oven and cool slightly before serving or cool completely and serve at room temperature.     

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