When I was a little girl, we actually invited our teachers home. It was always very exciting to have a teacher join us for lunch and my mother would make Quiche Lorraine, which at the time was considered rather exotic. It was also delicious. Over the years quiche went out of fashion, especially after it had become these awful, super-sized things that didn’t resemble a real quiche in any way except by name.
I was at the grocery store yesterday and they happened to have these beautiful bunches of organic kale on sale and I simply couldn’t resist. I bought one bunch to saute with garlic as a side vegetable, one bunch was earmarked for my Sunshine Kale Salad and I still had one bunch with nothing particular in mind what I should do with it. After giving it some thought, I decided to make a kale and mushroom quiche. This dish could easily be a lovely vegetarian lunch or supper or you could add some crispy bacon as I have. This version is not my mother’s Quiche Lorraine, but I think she would have been proud to serve it. I will serve it with focaccia and a salad loaded with tomatoes and sweet peppers. You can, of course, purchase pastry, but I like to make my own.
Kale and Mushroom Quiche with Bacon
Yield: One 10-inch savory tart
Pastry for 10-inch tart
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 cup cold solid white shortening (Lard, if you like, or Crisco)
3 Tablespoons cold unsalted butter
3 to 4 Tablespoons ice water
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter and 1 Tablespoon EVOO (or bacon drippings)
1 medium onion or large shallot, thinly sliced (you should have a good cup)
1 large clove of garlic, minced – about 1 teaspoon
1/2 teaspoon packed brown sugar
1 large bunch of curly kale (green or purple), with the leaves torn off of the stems into smallish pieces
8 ounces of mushrooms, thinly sliced and chopped in half if the pieces are large
7 slices of bacon, cooked until crispy but with some chew
4 large eggs
3/4 cup milk (I am using non-fat)
1/2 cup heavy cream or half and half
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/3 cup grated Parmesan, Gruyere, Asiago or Pecorino (I used Pecorino with truffles, because I had some on hand)
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste
NOTE: I think when I make this again, I may increase the amount of custard. I would do this by adding 1 additional egg, for a total of 5 eggs, as well as increasing the milk/cream mixture to a total of 2 cups total. Of course, you could also reduce your filling to 2 cups, but honestly, why would you?! While the photo doesn’t show it, the custard actually coats every piece of kale. The amount you use is purely personal.
For the pastry
- Put the flour and salt into the container of a food processor or a mixing bowl.
- Add the white shortening and butter and pulse while gradually adding the ice water.
- Add only enough water so that the dough comes clean from the sides of the container and can be handled. Shape into a flat disk and wrap in plastic wrap or waxed paper and chill for at least one hour. This can be made a day ahead and kept refrigerated.
For the Quiche
- When you are ready to bake the quiche, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Roll out the pastry and line a 10-inch quiche pan or pie plate. (The pastry needs to be sufficiently malleable when you roll it out or like me, you will spend a lot of time patching. It’s fine to patch since it won’t show in the end product, but if it makes you anxious, allow the dough to warm up a little before attempting to roll it out.) Line the pastry with foil. Add dried beans, rice or pie weights to keep the bottom from puffing up. Place in the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Carefully remove the foil and the weights. You can allow the beans or rice to cool and they can be stored for future use. You just can’t eat them!
- Meanwhile, cook the bacon, drain and coarsely chop it. Then heat the butter and EVOO in a large skillet (or use the bacon drippings) and add the onion and mushrooms. Sprinkle with brown sugar, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring until wilted. Add the garlic and stir through. Add the kale, with barely any of the water that sticks to the leaves after washing and cook, tossing gently until the kale begins to wilt. You can cover the pan for a few minutes to speed the process up. You want to uncover towards the end to reduce any liquid from the mushrooms. Since my kale was pretty dry when it went in, the liquid given off from the mushrooms was just enough to cook things so that the end product was moist but not liquidy.
- Break the eggs into a mixing bowl or large measuring cup and add some salt and pepper to taste. Beat well with a whisk, adding the milk and cream in a stream. (If there was a lot of liquid in the kale mixture, try to only add the solids, discarding the liquid.)
- Increase the oven temperature to 375 degrees F.
- Distribute the kale mixture over the bottom of the pastry. You want to use about 3 cups of filling. (If you have any extra it can be cooked with scrambled eggs or in a tofu scramble.) Pour the custard mixture evenly over the kale and sprinkle with the cheese. Place the quiche pan on a baking pan and bake for 30 minutes. Reduce the oven heat to 350 degrees F and bake for an additional 15 minutes. There should be just the slightest of jiggle in the center. Do not over bake. The custard will continue cooking after it comes out of the oven. Allow the quiche to cool to room temperature before serving.