Red Chard and Broccoli Pie

January 21, 2010 § Leave a comment

I love putting things in pie crust.

I hesitate to call this a “quiche” because the focus here was really on the vegetables with just few eggs thrown in to bind them together. But I suppose it is something of a quiche-frittata hybrid and either way the result was great.

Before I give the recipe I want to explain something about the way I food shop and why it works for me. I have tried a lot of different methods of grocery shopping including; buying what’s on sale, buying what I have coupons for, recipe planning, list making, and the way that has consistently won over and over again: buying what looks good and fresh, and is in many cases local and in season. I also like to pick up one or two new things for inspiration. Now, I realize that this may not work for everyone especially if you don’t have time to cook as much as you would like to. For many of us, that beautiful bunch of fresh, full kale that you bought with every intention of using promptly, ends up wilting in the back of your vegetable drawer… sad and forgotten. But if you have a small and steadily growing repertoire of recipes that you feel you can tweak and improvise on, you might consider trying to buy what looks freshest (after you’ve bought the basics) and seeing if you can incorporate it into your weekly fare.

This pie was born out of a very robust bunch of red chard that I was pleased to find this week at my local produce supplier as well as a leftover head of broccoli and some other odds and ends. If making crust is not your thing then you can certainly use a store bought crust (I like the Whole Foods, whole wheat crust in the frozen section). And don’t forget you will still have to pre-bake it for 10 or 15 minutes before filling it with the vegetable mixture.

Ari’s Red Chard and Broccoli Pie

Whole Wheat Crust (makes enough for a single crust):

1 1/2 cups flour (I use half all purpose and half whole wheat pastry, feel free to play with those proportions)

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp baking powder

1/3 cup vegan margarine or shortening (I used the vegan buttery sticks from earth balance)

~ 1/4 cup ice cold water, added very slowly, you may need a little more or a little less.

2 tsp apple cider vinegar

Make the crust:

Before you begin, put all ingredients in the fridge- make sure everything is very coldbefore you begin. Do not use your hands to mix the dough, the heat from the will melt the shortening.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, salt and baking powder. Add the shortening/margarine by the teaspoon, cutting in a about a third of the total amount at a time using a pastry cutter, two knives or a food processor- pulsing and checking to see that you have not cut your shortening chunks smaller than pea-size. Cut in all shortening until the dough is crumbly and pebbly.

Combine the vinegar with 1/2 cup of water, adding it to the  dough mixture in three batches, gently mixing it with a fork until the dough just comes together when pinched. Add additional cold water if you need to.

Gather the dough into a ball and gently squeeze it so it holds together. Sprinkle a clean work surface with flour form the dough into a flattened disk. Wrap the disk tightly in plastic and refrigerate while you make the filling ~ 1 hour.

Filling:

2 small-medium onions, halved and thinly sliced

1 broccoli crown, cut into small florets

3-4 cloves garlic, peeled

1 large bunch of red chard (swiss/green is fine), stems chopped into 1/2 pieces and leaves thinly sliced into ribbons

3 large eggs

1/4 milk/ soy milk

1/3 cup grated, hard goat/sheep’s milk cheese (optional)

salt and pepper to taste

Olive oil

Make filling:

Preheat the oven to 375 F

Put the florets and garic cloves in a square baking pan and toss with a couple tablespoons of olive oil and some salt and pepper. Cover baking dish with foil and roast until broccoli is tender, about 40 minutes.

Meanwhile pull the dough from fridge if it is ready and roll it out to fit a 9-10 inch pie plate (about 1/3 inch thick). You may need to four the counter to prevent it from sticking. When you have a large-enough rolled-out dough, roll it around your rolling pin, and unroll it over the pie plate. Gently fit the dough into the plate and trim the edges.

Poke a few holes into the bottom and line dough with foil or parchment paper. Fill pie dish with dry beans or pie weights and bake with broccoli for ~10 minutes.

Remove pie dough from oven and when cool enough to handle take out the foil and weights.

In a wide, heavy skillet, heat a couple tablespoons of oil over medium heat, add the onions and saute until they begin to caramelize. Add salt and pepper and the chopped chard stems and after sauteeing for a few minutes, cover with a tight-fitting lid and turn the heat down.

Cook chard stems with onions for 10 minutes or so, until the soften. Add the ribboned chard leaves and cover again, letting them cook down. When chard has sufficiently wilted uncover and stir in broccoli and garlic. Remove pan from heat and let vegetables cool slightly.

In a large bowl whisk eggs with the milk and add a little more salt and pepper. Grate in cheese, of using and when vegetable are cool enough (you don’t want to scramble your eggs) mix everything together in the bowl. Pour filling into partially baked crust and return to oven. If you notice the sides of your crust are already very brown you can keep them from burning by covering the edges of your pie plate with foil.

Bake until set ~ 40 minutes.

Cool and slice.

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