The Last of Winter’s Harvest: Chard, Gruyere and Pancetta Pie

finishedpie5Yes indeed, I really had planned to change the header to Spring for my next post, but due to an extremely busy week and some traveling, that’s not going to happen. Fortunately, the “Winter Look” seems entirely appropriate for this post (in spite of the fact that we hit 80 degrees here last week), because this recipe is all about using the last of the Winter chard from my garden before turning it and planting new veg for Spring/Summer.

lastofchardWe’ve had a truly mild Winter here, a non-Winter almost, and my rainbow chard really loved it. Just enough cool weather to make it continue to produce, and no hard freezes to kill it. I had almost a pound of it left to harvest this week from the few plants in my tiny raised bed garden plot. But what to make?

Then I remembered I’d seen someone posting a quiche recently, and it made me start thinking how long it had been since I’d had one. That might be a nice way to use up my chard! A quick reconnaissance of items inΒ the fridge resulted in the knowledge that I already had some pancetta that I’d found on sale, some gruyere and Parmesan cheeses, plenty of eggs, milk, a red onion, et voilΓ !

This was quite a delicious pie, with more defined layers than your average quiche because of all the greens…more like a cross between a quiche and a pie. The greens do release a bit more of their liquid during the second round of cooking, so be forewarned that you’ll need to let this sit for a few minutes before you cut it, as it’s a little juicy. It does firm up nicely once it approaches room temp, but of course we couldn’t wait that long and I only let it rest 5 minutes before cutting. Even so, I found that it held together just fine. And regardless of how pretty or not any slices may have been, it’s gone!

layersLike most quiche or pie recipes, this one is pretty flexible. You can use less chard, but I wouldn’t try more, and you can sub bacon for the Pancetta, and white onion for red. I think spinach would work nicely here, too, in lieu of the chard, or as a mixture.

Chard, Gruyere and Pancetta Pie
Serves 6

1 – 9 inch good quality frozen whole wheat pie crust (yes, you can make your own, but Β as I said, it was a busy week!)
4 oz. Pancetta or you can substitute good quality bacon
1 small red onion, peeled and finely chopped
12 oz. ( you can use less if you like) rainbow or other chard, washed, dried, stems removed and leaves chopped crosswise into bite sized pieces
3 large eggs
1 cup half and half
1/2 cup milk (I used 1%, but any will do)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper or more to taste
4 oz. grated good quality gruyere cheese
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

If you’re using the frozen pie crust, check the package directions to make sure that it is ready to go for a quiche or pie, or if you need to pre bake it, do so. Same with a home made pie crust, which will probably need blind baking. My crust is ready to fill from the freezer.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Cook the pancetta in a large non-stick skillet over medium low heat, turning occasionally, until it is golden brown and crisp. Remove the pancetta from the pan to a paper towel to drain, reserving 1 1/2 Tablespoons of the grease in the skillet. Add the onion to the skillet and cook over medium heat for about 3 minutes, until the onion softens and becomes translucent. Add the chard to the pan, sprinkling half the salt and pepper over the chard, and saute until it is wilted and tender, about 5-8 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, half and half, milk, the remaining salt and pepper and the nutmeg until combined.

If using a frozen crust, remove it from the freezer and the packaging, and place it on a cookie sheet covered with aluminum foil, or follow the instructions on the package. Crumble the pancetta into the bottom of the crust, spreading evenly. Sprinkle the cheeses evenly over the pancetta. Top the pancetta with the chard mixture, then pour the egg custard mixture evenly over the top. It will be full, and you may have a couple of tablespoons of extra custard left, depending on how much chard you use, or how large your pie crust is. Carefully transfer the pie on the cookie sheet into the oven and bake at 375 degrees F for about 40 minutes, or until it is puffed and beginning to be golden, and a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. If you need to, cover the edges of the pie crust with foil if they start to brown too quickly. When the pie is done, remove from the oven, allow it to cool for at least 5 minutes, and cut into 6 wedges. This can be served warm, at room temp, rewarmed slightly in the microwave or oven, or even cold.

finishedpie3

*****

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51 thoughts on “The Last of Winter’s Harvest: Chard, Gruyere and Pancetta Pie

  1. No matter what you call it – quipie maybe, it looks scrumptious.
    Hope we too can have a mild winter – for a non-winter we would have to move back to Mauritius.
    Have a wonderful week ahead.
    πŸ™‚ Mandy xo

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  2. That does look so wonderful Betsy, I love the hearty texture of Swiss chard and it would be perfect for this quiche/pie. We’ve had a horrible winter and spring is no better, but I am glad your winter was perfect for your rainbow chard.

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  3. Hi Betsy – you’ve inspired me! One of my favourite ways of using chard is in a frittata or omelette but because I like to save enough for lunch the next day I always find the meal a bit… I don’t know… “light”. Making a pie out of it is a great idea. The pastry would give it that extra bulk it needs. I’m not a huge fan of pancetta, but I’d sub in chorizo, and with the gruyere as well it would be fantastic!

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    • I, too, love chard in a frittata, but just wanted something a bit different. I think chorizo would be grand in this, too. Just needs a little pork of some sort! Funny, I usually use chorizo with chard in my frittatas! πŸ™‚ I need to see what you’ve been up to when I get back to my normal internet service later this week…very spotty where I am right now. Have a good week!

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  4. This really does look good, Betsy. You cooked it perfectly and the filling got a nice rise. I bet it was delicious! Well, with chard, pancetta and 2 cheeses, how could it not? I’m pinning this one. Thanks.

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    • Thank you John, I’m so pleased you like this well enough to pin it. As you said, how could it go wrong with the ingredients? I think I’m going to have to make another with spinach now that the chard is gone…too good not to have it again. πŸ™‚

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  5. What are you next planting in your garden? It is reaching the 80’s here the last few days – hot already. Chard is still not something I”m familiar with using…guess I could start here. Your quiche looks and sounds great!

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    • I’m hoping to get in beans, arugula, herbs, and maybe some tomatoes. My garden gets more sun in winter than it does in summer, precious little at any time, so I have to plant and cross my fingers! Glad you like the looks of this chard recipe and this would be a great way to try it! Thanks for your comment. πŸ™‚

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    • Chard is good stuff! I used to not like it until I started experimenting with cooking it myself. It’s far more versatile than I originally thought! We are all hanging in and doing well at the moment, thanks so much, Karista! Hope all is well in your world, too! πŸ™‚

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  6. Ohhh I am so missing swiss chard. I have not had that since living in the States and my dad used to grow loads of it fresh in his garden. I know that this would just be a beautiful pie and great to make for any day. I am completely homesick!!! Have a super weekend, BAM

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    • I wish I could send you some chard, BAM, it does grow so well here. Or better yet, I could send you a slice of this pie! πŸ™‚ It’s easy to forget that we can’t get everything everywhere in the world, although you do have access to some fine ingredients where you are. Thanks so much and I hope you have a great weekend, too!

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  7. Your winter’s are crazy mild compared to ours, Betsy! I can’t imagine having a winter mild enough for chard to keep growing like that. At first I thought this was a pizza.. so now I’m craving your pie and wondering if it would be yummy in a pizza as well:D xx

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    • Hmmm. I’ve never tried it in pizza, but if you saute it first like I do here, I don’t see why not! πŸ™‚ We just had another really warm spell (80’s) followed by a cold snap down to the upper 30’s at night…very unusual to be that cold this late. My chard has rallied again and had a growth spurt, so I may yet get one more bunch out of it, if you can believe it.

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  8. Betsy this has been the coldest April that I can remember, so your cozy comfort recipe is well-timed. My mom got me hooked on swiss chard a few years ago but I always eat it plain with butter on it. I must remember this recipe next time I have a hankering for chard. Hope things are well with you — I think it is so cool that you have started your pottery blog as well. You are a woman of many talents!

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    • Hey Barb! I think kids would like this pie, even if they think they don’t like chard…I mean with bacon and eggs and cheese, c’mon! We just had a real cold snap for April and it’s still quite cool for here now, but going back up into the 70’s later this week. It’s been crazy. We’ve hit the 80’s twice, both time followed by a strong cold front…not our usual here. Thank you so kindly for you words about my pie and my pottery! πŸ™‚ Getting back into pottery has been fun, but a lot to learn and relearn. All good, though! I hope all is well with you…I’ve been so busy with work, I’m perpetually behind in visiting and reading. 😦

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    • Yes, you would really love this pie if you like chard, Caroline! I hope you’ll give it a try, it is really good and makes good leftovers, too, if you have any leftover! Thanks so much for your comment. πŸ™‚

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  9. Pingback: The Guy Domestic – Basic Quiche Lorraine | TheGuyDomestic

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