Sometimes pie is just the right thing for dinner or dessert. This is the first of two pie recipe posts…one savory pie and one sweet.
My spurt of pie making started when my friend Diane gave me a wonderful authentic ceramic pie plate from Colonial Williamsburg as a birthday present and I’ve been making pies with it ever since. It was the perfect vehicle for inspiring this quiche with it’s cozy colors and even clay cooking. Of course you can use any pie plate you happen to have, but I like either clay or glass pie plates for cooking a quiche.
As you’ve now guessed, this first pie is savory. Quiche isn’t something I make too often, but I do enjoy a really good one. Because it has a tendency to be quite rich, I always load my quiches and frittata with lots of veggies and a little less egg than many recipes call for, and this particular pie is no exception to that rule. This winter quiche is filled with fresh spinach, tasty pancetta, wild mushrooms and caramelized onions, and makes for a very satisfying and savory meal all by itself. If you like, you can serve it with a side of very lightly dressed salad greens to balance the richness…and oh yes, a nice glass of wine!
I made my quiche with a prepared pie crust that I thawed and rolled out to save time, and also because I didn’t have any homemade pie crust on hand. You can make your quiche with a homemade crust, a prepared and ready to roll out crust or an uncooked pie shell.
This is definitely another dish in the winter comfort food category, but I really think it would be great any time of year. Enjoy!
Rustic Spinach, Pancetta, Wild Mushroom and Caramelized Onion Quiche
1 uncooked refrigerated 9-inch pie crust, rolled out and placed into a 9 inch pie plate
4 oz. pancetta, diced
1 medium sweet onion, diced
5 oz. fresh baby spinach, chopped
3 oz. Shiitake mushrooms, cleaned and sliced (about 1 1/2 cups)
2-3 teaspoons olive oil
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
4 eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup milk
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 1/4 cup grated gruyere or swiss cheese
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Cook the pancetta in a large, non-stick skillet over medium heat until it is cooked through and crisp. Remove the pancetta from the pan with a slotted spoon and place it on a paper towel to drain. Add the onions to the pancetta grease in the pan and cook on medium heat until they are translucent and begin to caramelize, about 5-8 minutes. Remove the onions from the skillet and set aside. Add 1 teaspoon of olive oil to the skillet, then add the spinach and a pinch of kosher salt and black pepper, and cook the spinach over medium low heat, stirring frequently, until wilted and tender. Remove the spinach from the skillet and place in a fine mesh sieve to drain. Add 1-2 teaspoons more of olive oil to the same skillet and add the shiitake mushrooms. Sprinkle the mushrooms with 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt and black pepper, and sauté them over medium low heat until they are done and tender, about another 5-8 minutes.
Squeeze as much moisture as you can out of the cooked spinach with a paper towel, and layer the spinach evenly in the bottom of the pie crust. Sprinkle the pancetta on top of the spinach, then layer the onion, mushrooms and the cheese in that order. In a blender of food processor, combine the 4 eggs, the milk, the cream, the nutmeg and another small pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper. Blend until well mixed. Pour the egg mixture over the top of the layered ingredients in the pie crust. Place the quiche into the oven on a center rack and bake for 35-45 minutes, until the custard is golden, puffed and set, but the center still slightly wiggles in the center. If your pie crust edges start to brown too much, cover them with foil. When the quiche is done, remove it from the oven and allow the quiche to cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Cut into 4-6 wedges and serve.