May 28, 2009

My CSA farm, Snow's Bend, grows great greens. Kale, Swiss chard, bok choi, turnip and radish greens, collards; they're all excellent. In the newsletter they send out each week before CSA pick-up day, they include recipes for what's coming. A couple weeks ago, they included my new favorite recipe: Greens Pie.

It's easy, fully customizable, and the greatest way to use a whole bunch of greens. Here's the recipe:

Swiss Chard Pie
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 bunch greens (Swiss chard, kale, etc.)
3 eggs
1/2 cup shredded cheese
Pinch cayenne pepper or dash Tabasco sauce
Salt and pepper to taste
1 blind-baked 9-inch pie crust

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Brown onion and garlic in oil; add greens and saute until wilted. Beat eggs in a large bowl, and stir in chard mixture, cheese, cayenne, salt, and pepper. Pour into pie crust, and bake 30-40 minutes until firm and starting to brown on top.

The egg mixture doesn't look like much, but it puffs up wonderfully to fill the crust and create a wonderful (and super-healthy) quiche. So far, I've tried it with rainbow chard and kale, and both were great. I've used smoked Cheddar and queso Chihuahua, and both were great. I've also found that adding a bit of grated nutmeg is quite welcome. Full disclosure: I add a slice of bacon with the onion and garlic, because bacon makes everything better.

You can use a store-bought pie crust for this, but it's a great opportunity to experience the ease and joy of making your own. It's easy, I promise. Just stir together 6 ounces of flour (combine white and whole-wheat flours for a nutrition boost) and a generous pinch of salt, then cut in 4 ounces (1 stick) of butter with your fingers or a pastry blender until butter pieces are pea-sized or smaller. Stir in up to 2 ounces (1/4 cup) of cold warer, a little at a time, just until the dough comes together. (No matter how much you're making, the proper ratio for pie dough is three parts flour, two parts fat, and one part water).

Knead briefly on a floured surface, then form into a disk, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate 15 minutes or so. While the dough is chilling, preheat the oven to 425. Take out the dough, roll into a rough circle a bit larger than the bottom of your pie dish or tart pan, fit in the pan (this recipe makes a little bit more than is needed for a 9-inch pan), and prick all over with a fork. Cover with parchment paper and fill with pie weights (dried beans do this job admirably; you can use the same beans as weights multiple times, but don't try to cook them after using them as pie weights). Bake for 15 minutes, then remove the weights, turn down to 350, and bake another 5 minutes. Now you're ready to go.

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