Sunday, March 13, 2011

How a Real Man Makes Quiche

Quiche. The first time I ever encountered the word, I was told it was something real men didn't eat. I had no clue what it was or why real men didn't eat it, only that it must something gross with lots of vegetables and no meat. The first quiche I ever saw was a runny, undercooked nastiness that did nothing to inspire me to ever want to try a bite. It was not for many years, in fact, that I actually tried quiche and found it to be "not that bad."

Lately, however, I have discovered a new passion for this dish. It's perfect in its simplicity. Eggs, cheese, cream. Add to this base whatever flavor combinations you like. Bake it in a pie shell. Perfect. It's fantastic for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Spinach and Mushroom Quiche with Feta
I have recently taken to making a quiche on Sunday evening and eating it for breakfast all week (though I never seem to get past Wednesday!). The versatility of the dish allows for such a wide variety of flavors and ingredients that I never get sick of it.

Today, I am posting a couple of different quiche recipes. Really, they're the same recipe with different ingredient combinations. I typically use an all butter pie crust, the same one I discussed in my Dec. 19, 2010 post. I will usually cut back a bit on the sugar, though I still add a teaspoon or so. I find it's best to make a double crust and then freeze half of it for later use. If you are going to use the other half in 2 days or so, keep it in the refrigerator. Otherwise, you can freeze it for up to a month, if you wrap it well in plastic wrap and wax paper. If you freeze it, be sure to thaw the crust completely before you try to roll it out. The crust for the quiche is not pre-baked though lately I've considered experimenting with that, just to see what happens.

The quiche recipe I prefer calls for 4 large eggs. There are some recipes I've encountered that only call for 3 but I like the eggier version better. Most recipes call for cream or half-n-half. You may certainly use these ingredients if you choose. Seeing as how I make quiche so frequently, I have substituted these with a combination of evaporated milk and low-fat milk. Okay so it's still got some fat going on, I realize, but cutting out 2 cups of cream is never bad for the waistline!

Southwestern Quiche
Preheat your oven to 425°. Roll out the pie crust and line a 9" pie dish. Cover this with plastic and refrigerate until you're ready to use it.
In a large saute pan, heat
2 T olive oil
until the oil is hot and add:
1/2 onion, diced fine
1-2 red or green jalepeƱos, seeded and diced
Cook over medium heat until peppers begin to soften, about 5 minutes or so. Add:
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
Stir into onions and peppers and cook for a minute. Remove ingredients from the pan and set aside.
Southwestern Quiche
In a large bowl, mix together:
8-10 oz ground pork
1 t table salt
1/2 t chili powder
1/2 t ground cumin
1/2 t dried oregano
Return the saute pan to the heat and cook sausage over medium heat until lightly browned. At the last minute, toss in:
1/4 c cilantro leaves
Stir leaves into sausage and remove from heat.
In a large bowl, whisk together:
4 large eggs
1-12 oz can evaporated milk
1/2 c milk
1/2 t salt
1/2 t white pepper
When well combined, stir in onions and peppers along with sausage and
1 c shredded Monterey Jack cheese
Immediately pour into chilled pie crust. Sprinkle the top with:
1/2 c shredded cheddar cheese
Place in 425° oven for 15 minutes. Turn the quiche halfway and lower the temperature to 350°. Bake for another 20-25 minutes, until the quiche has set up but still barely jiggles in the middle. You can also test it by carefully inserting a knife blade in the center. If it comes out clean, it's done.
Allow the quiche to cool for a bit before cutting into it. I usually try to hold myself back for at least a half an hour but an hour is better. The longer the quiche sits, the firmer it will set up.

This recipe obviously makes a spicier quiche, the jalepeƱos giving it enough of a kick to make any real man proud. Still, sometimes a kinder, gentler approach is best. There's nothing wrong with going meatless on occasion, like for example the quiche I made this evening...

Spinach and Mushroom Quiche with Feta
As before, we begin with the oven at 425° and a pie shell in the fridge. In our saute pan we will combine:
2 T olive oil
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped
We'll cook this until it softens and add:
1 garlic clove, minced
Stir the garlic into the onions and cook for a minute, then remove from the pan and set aside. Place the pan back on the heat and add:
2 t olive oil
1 c sliced crimini or portobello mushrooms
1/2 t salt
Cook over medium heat until the mushrooms begin to brown. Add:
1-1/2 c baby spinach leaves
Stir and heat until the spinach leaves have wilted. Remove mushrooms and spinach from the pan, leaving behind any liquid.
In a large bowl, whisk together:
4 large eggs
1-12 oz can evaporated milk
1/2 c milk
1-1/2 t dried basil
1/2 t salt
1/2 t white pepper
dash of nutmeg
Whisk until well combined. Stir in onions, peppers, mushrooms and spinach along with:
1 c crumbled feta cheese (about 4-6 oz)
Pour into chilled pie crust and sprinkle the top with:
1/2 c shredded mozzarella cheese
Bake as above, first at 425° for 15 minutes, then at 350° for 20-25 minutes, turning halfway through. Let it cool on a rack for an hour.

So many flavors, so many possibilities! Perhaps next week, I'll do a classic Quiche Lorraine with bacon and swiss cheese. Or maybe a smoked salmon quiche...


Quiche Update

Since writing the above post, I have experimented with a couple of different variations of crusts. I made one quiche with a crust made from whole wheat pastry flour. I used no white flour at all. I found the crust to not hold together quite as well as just using white flour. It was still very tasty but I think next time I'll try half whole wheat flour and half white and see how that works out.

In her comment posted below, The Improbable Farmer says that she fears pie crust and makes her quiche crustless. Kat had also been wanting to try this, not for fear of making the crust but of the calories therein. She decided to try making one with some of the fresh asparagus we have. She sprayed the pie plate with non-stick spray, then poured in the filling. Instead of baking it at 425° for the first 15 minutes, she just baked it at 350° for 40-45 minutes on an insulated baking sheet (to prevent the bottom from overcooking). 

The result was fantastic! The custard was perfectly cooked around the outside and the quiche held its form wonderfully when served. It was every bit as good as a regular quiche without the unnecessary calories. We loved it so much, we may never go back to crusted quiche again!

May 24, 2011


  1. And if you eat it made with eggs that come from chickens who eat a lot of grass (or fish meal or flax seed), you get lots of good Omega-3s instead of the not-so-good Omega-6s!

  2. Ok... My tummy is grumbling. This sounds fantastic. Since I am still scared of making pie crust I usually make mine crustless.