As the winter equinox draws nigh more fortifying meals are going to be the order of the day for the winter months ahead. There are always those favorite tried and true hearty soups and robust stews to fall back on, but adding a little variety to your winter repertoire is sure to liven things up just when it’s needed t the most.

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Quiche usually conjures up thoughts of summery fresh herbs and vine ripe tomatoes, but putting a heartier wintery quiche on the table in the dead of winter will be one of those “aha” moments that is sure to please!

The recipe that follows is ripe for interpretation. Feel free to use what ever winter produce available and by all means include an assortment of herbs and spices to compliment your produce choices. I assure you It will be a lovely hearty meal that you can serve with nothing more than a winter salad with a zesty lemon garlic vinaigrette!

Winter Quiche

I have used a tradition pastry for this quiche, but If that seems like to much of a bother, by all means use a quick mashed potato crust instead,( recipe here) substituting acorn squash fort the potatoes in the quiche recipe that follows.

f Pastry shell  I recommend making it a day in advance so the dough is well chilled before rolling it out the following day.

Needed: a deep 10 or 11 inch pie dish.

  • 4 oz. unsalted butter, chilled and cut into cubes
  • ¾ cup of vegetable shortening, chilled
  • 2 ¾ cups unbleached all- purpose flour 
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • ¼ cup ice water

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the well chilled butter, shortening, and salt. Mix on low speed for 2 or 3 minutes until softened. Turn the speed up to medium and mix another 1 or 2 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a silicone spatula as needed.
Turn the speed down to low and start adding the flour in three batches while continuing to mix on low until the mixture resembles cornmeal. Then begin adding small amounts of water while continuing to mix. Add more water as needed until the dough begins to come together. Then continue adding very small amounts of water until the dough holds together, but do not over mix.

Transfer the dough to a well floured work surface and kneed until the dough holds together while forming it into a ball. Divide the dough in half and flatten both halves into discs about 1 inch thick. Wrap the discs tightly in cling film and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.

When you are ready to roll out the dough, transfer a round of dough to a well floured wooden cutting board, or a pizza peel. Begin rolling out the dough slowly. As the dough warms it will soften and roll out easily into an 11or 12 inch circle. Make sure to toss flour under the dough as you work so it will move freely when you slide the pasty centered into the pie dish. Work the dough evenly up the sides of the pie dish. Then make a scalloped edge around the rim of the dish. Chill for 1 hour before b blind baking. Put the remaining round of dough in the freezer for later use.

Preheat the oven to 350 f / 180 c

Lightly brush the interior and edges of the pie shell with with melted butter. and line the interior of the pie shell with parchment paper. Then fill the shell with pie weights, being sure to press them up against the sides of the dough to hold it in place as it bakes.

Blind bake the pastry shell for 25 minutes. Remove the parchment along with the pie weights and return the pie to the oven for another 10 minutes until just lightly browned. Remove from the oven and set on a rack to cool.

Winter quiche filling:

  • 3 large potatoes, peeled and cubed (omit if using a potato crust
  •  use a large butternut squash as an alternate for potatoes,  peeled, seeds removed, and cubed
  • 4 carrots, peeled and cut into ¾ inch slices on the diagonal
  • 1 large turnip, peeled and cubed
  • 3 Tbs olive oil
  • 2 oz. pancetta, diced
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 6 oz. shiitake mushrooms,  stems removed, and thinly sliced
  • 2 tsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 tsp fresh rosemary leaves, sliced
  • 1/3 cup dry vermouth
  • 2 oz. sun-dried tomatoes, sliced thinly lengthwise
  • ¼ cup kalamata olives, pits removed, and halved
  • sea salt and pepper to taste
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • ¾ cups whole milk
  • 4 organic eggs
  • ½ ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2cup crumbled feta cheese
  • ¼ cup grated parmigiana cheese

Pre heat the oven to 350 f / 180 c

Fill a sauce pan with several cups of water fitted with a steam baske. Fill the steaming basket with the potatoes (or butternut squash), carrots, and turnips and cover with a lid. Place the pan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer and steam the vegetables until they are al dente. Promptly remove the pan from the heat. Remove the steam basket of vegetables and set aside to cool.

Place a large skillet over medium heat. When hot add the olive oil. When the oil is hot add the pancetta and saute until it is lightly browned. Remove the pancetta and set aside. Add the onions to the skillet and saute until wilted. Add the garlic and saute 1 minute. Add the shiitake mushrooms and saute until they begin to give up their liquid and are lightly browned. Add the thyme and rosemary and continue sauteing while adding the vermouth and saute until the vermouth is reduced. Add the sun dried tomatoes and olives and toss until well combined.

Add the steamed vegetables and toss until all the ingredients are well combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste and set aside.

When you are ready to bake the quiche spoon the sauteed vegetable mixture into the pasty shell and arrange evenly.

In a small bowl whisk together the cream, milk, eggs, and nutmeg until combined. Pour the milk egg mixture over the top of the vegetable filling and jiggle until the egg mixture settles in evenly.

Add the feta, pushing it into the quiche filling. Scatter the parmigiana over the surface of the quiche and transfer to the oven.

Bake for 25 to 35 minutes or until the egg mixture is just set. Promptly transfer the quiche to a cooling rack to cool for 10 to 15 minutes before serving.

Serve while warm with a salad of choice.              Bon appetit !

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