Spinach, ‘Shroom, and Swiss Quiche, With Ham!

It was a good day to make a quiche; not the least of which because I had a box of pie crust in the fridge downstairs that was not getting any fresher. Now, you can go ahead and make your own pie crust – I have a fair number of recipes on this blog – but my sister introduced me to the joy of having a pretty darned decent pie crust on hand fresh from the market.

Tasty, flaky, and the biggest fuss is letting it rest on the counter for 15 minutes before unrolling it and getting on to the good stuff.

I like that in a pie crust!

The original recipe, from the nice folk at Cooking Light, did include a pie crust recipe which, I just told you, I ignored, but…

They also took a different kinda step in quiche preparation by pre-baking the pie crust a wee, tiny bit before filling and finishing the whole thing; which I did, and, I am here to tell you, I am a believer!

•1 pie crust – store bought or home made
•Bacon fat
•1/2 cup chopped ham
•1/4 cup chopped shallots
•1 (8 oz) package sliced ‘shrooms
•1/2 tsp dried thyme
•1 tbsp Sherry Peppers Sauce*
•1 tsp Cajun Power Spicy Garlic Pepper Sauce – or your fave hot sauce, to taste
•2 cups packed baby spinach
•1 cup milk
•1/3 cup half-and-half
•3 large eggs
•1 large egg white
•1 tbsp Mustard Barbecue Sauce
– or Dijon mustard
•1/2 tsp salt
•1/4 tsp black pepper
•1/4 tsp Aleppo pepper
•1 cup Gruyère cheese, grated

*No Sherry Peppers Sauce? No Problem! Simply add a bit of decent sherry (none of that “cooking” stuff) and a dash or three of your fave hot sauce, to taste.

Preheat oven to 425°.

Fit your pie crust into your chosen pie or quiche pan, then line it with foil and arrange pie weights (or uncooked dried beans) across the pan, bake for 12 minutes, then remove the foil and the weights (or beans) and bake for another two minutes.

Remove from the oven, set aside to cool, then reset your oven to 350º.

Melt one tablespoon of bacon fat (or olive oil or butter, but bacon fat is better) in a large pan over medium high heat, then add the ham and sauté for five minutes or so, until the edges are just a bit charred. Remove from the pan and keep handy.

Add another tablespoon of bacon fat to the pan, if needed, and add the shallots, sliced ‘shrooms, and thyme.

Cook, stirring often for ten minutes, then stir in the Sherry Peppers Sauce.

Add the baby spinach, toss to mix well, and cook for two minutes, just until the spinach is wilted.

In a blender jar, combine the milk, half and half, eggs and egg white, mustard, salt, and the black and Aleppo peppers and pulse until blended and smooth.

Note: an immersion blender and a large beaker works a treat, too.

Scatter the ham over the crust, then top with the ‘shroom and spinach mixture.

Scatter half of the cheese over the top, then pour the egg mixture evenly over all.

Note: I was using a pretty standard (I thought) pie/quiche plate, but ended up with more of the egg mixture than would fit in the pan, so I chucked the excess – about 1/2 cup or so, so it wasn’t a huge deal.

Finally, scatter the remaining cheese over the top of the quiche and pop into the oven for 45 minutes, or until the filling is set.

Remove from the oven and cool on a rack for ten minutes before slicing and serving.

Note: serving the quiche fresh, even after letting it rest for ten minutes, could give you slightly messy, but still totally delicious, slices. If you really need it to look perfect, make the quiche well ahead, cool completely, then slice and gently reheat.

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