I had a request to come up with a recipe similar to a vegetarian quiche found at a great place called Le Pain Quotidien. The item, as it appears on the menu is not terribly clean friendly – cheese…tomatoes…wheat crust. So I set off to my test kitchen and my enlisted my testers (lol – that would be my regular kitchen and my husband Craig. We’re very high tech over here.)
I have to say, I am really pleased with this quiche. It’s got lots of flavors and colors, so it looks as good on the plate as it tastes in your mouth. Plus, there are limitless variations you could do with this by season or your own personal taste. My version is not vegetarian. In the original, the protein was coming from the tofu and cheese. Since I wanted to keep protein in the quiche, I used ground chicken and pureed Tuscan white beans. One of the biggest challenges with this quiche was coming up with a gluten free crust. This was accomplished by using buckwheat flour and vegetable shortening.
The different flavor profiles you’ll find in this dish range from bitter, the sauteed kale; to salty, the buckwheat crust; to sour, the pickled beets; to sweet, the shredded carrots and apple; to savory, the lemon walnut gremolata. You could say that this dish has umami all wrapped up.
This is not a quick recipe though. There are a lot of steps to making this. I’ve tried to simplify it as much as possible. But it’s definitely worth the effort.
For Buckwheat Crust
- 2 Cups Buckwheat Flour
- 3/4 Teaspoons Salt
- 3/4 Cup All Vegetable Shortening (non-hydrogenated)
- 4 1/2 Tablespoons Cold Water
- 1 Pound Ground Chicken
- 1 Medium Onion (sliced thin)
- 1/4 Cup Dried Cranberries
- 1-2Tablespoons Olive Oil
- Kosher Salt
- 1 Bunch Kale (de-stemmed and cut into thin strips)
- 3-4 Cloves Garlic (minced)
- 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- Kosher Salt
For Pickled Beets
- 1 15 Ounce Can Sliced Red Beets (drained)
- 1/3 Cup Red Wine Vinegar
- 1 Tablespoon Agave Nectar
- 1/4 Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
For Tuscan White Beans
- 1 15 Ounce Can Cannellini or Great Northern Beans (drained)
- 2 Small Cloves of Garlic
- 1 Tablespoon Sage
- 1/4 Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
For Carrots and Apples
- 1-2 Large Carrots (shredded)
- 1 Medium Size Granny Smith Apple (cored and shredded)
- 1-2 Small Zucchini (sliced thin)
- Olive Oil
For Gremolata Topping
- 1/2 Cup Walnuts (chopped fine)
- Zest of 1 Lemon
- 1/4 Cup Italian Parsley (chopped)
For Buckwheat Crust: Preheat oven to 425 degrees Farenheit. Stir flour and salt together. Cut in shortening until dough forms crumbs (should look like wet sand). Add water and mix until dough forms. Depending on the humidity, you may need to add additional water. If so, add 1 tablespoon at a time until dough forms. Be careful not to over mix. (This dough will be mealy, it won’t come together and be stretchy like a regular pie dough.)
Spoon half of buckwheat dough into an 8″ springform pan and press to cover bottom of pan. Turn pan onto its side and add dough to the sides, pressing it together like you did on the bottom. Gently prick the bottom and sides of the dough with a fork.
Line the dough with parchment paper and fill the bottom with dried beans or rice. Bake for 15-20 minutes. (The crust will slightly pull away from the sides of the pan. Let cool for 20 minutes, then remove parchment paper and beans or rice.
Reduce oven heat to 35o degrees Farenheit.
For Chicken: Add 1-2 Tablespoons olive oil to a saute pan on medium high heat. Once hot, add onions. Sautee onions for several minutes, then add in dried cranberries. Keep sauteeing onions until they begin to slightly brown. Once onions are browning, add in ground chicken. Keep stirring ingredients to break up chicken and to keep onions from burning. Add a pinch or two of salt to chicken mixture.
Once chicken is cooked through. Remove onions, cranberries and chicken to a paper towel lined plate to cool and drain thoroughly.
For Kale: In a saute pan add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and chopped garlic. Heat pan to medium heat to lightly brown garlic. Keep stirring garlic so that it doesn’t burn. Add in some of the chopped kale. Add in more kale as the previous batch cooks down and makes more room in the pan. Once all of the kale is in the pan, add a pinch or two of salt. Remove from heat while the kale is still slightly crunchy and bright green.
For Pickled Beets: In a wide shallow dish add vinegar, agave nectar and black pepper. Stir to combine. Add in beet slices and make sure that all slices are in the pickling liquid. Let stand for at least 2 hours. Stir occasionally to ensure all slices get pickled. (optional: add thinly sliced red onions to pickling juice and include them in the quiche as well) Drain the pickling juice.
For Tuscan White Beans: In a food processor add white beans, garlic, sage and black pepper. Puree all ingredients until a thick paste forms.
For Gremolata: Thoroughly stir to combine walnuts, lemon peel and parsley.
To Assemble: Spoon chicken mixture into the bottom of the pan. Add enough so that the bottom is covered. Next, spoon in the kale. Layer the beets (and optional onions) by slightly overlapping slices in concentric circles. Gently smooth beans over the top of the beets. Sprinkle shredded carrots and apple (you may find that you have leftover carrots and apple). Layer the sliced zucchini, in overlapping concentric circles, over the carrots. Either lightly brush zucchini with olive oil or use spray olive oil to gently coat zucchini. Spoon the gremolata topping over the top of the quiche.
Bake, at 350 degrees Farenheit, for 20-25 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit for 20-30 minutes before serving.
Use pickled red onions only, in place of pickled beets.
Pickle the carrots instead of the beets.
Use spinach or finely chopped broccoli instead of kale.
Create a layer using ground figs and almonds.