The Handoff: Pumpkin Quiche with Roasted Potato Crust
By Sarah A. Maine
Sunnyside, NY – Last week Taylor doubled down on hearty autumnal comfort food; her Salt Cod Cakes featured ingredients that have become the very definition of indulgent, non-health conscious foods – eggs, potatoes, butter and cream. Their value as nutritious and delicious food has been drowned out by broad proclamations about the dangers of cholesterol, fats and carbohydrates.
Now, I’m not an authority on nutrition, and I don’t advocate a disregard for heath-conscious eating habits, but I resist the idea that (barring any allergies that might restrict your diet) egg yolks, full fat dairy and carbohydrate dense vegetables should be avoided by everyone at all costs. It all comes back to where you get your food and how it was raised. Fresh local foods, raised organically or with minimal application of chemicals, contain higher concentrations of valuable nutrients and vitamins.
A couple weeks ago on RecipeRelay, Valeria Necchio said something that rung very true for me: “Less and better is more”. That pretty much encapsulates my own eating and cooking philosophy, I feel it could also be a good strategy for how to manage those controversial hot button foods. So it is with pride that for this week’s Relay I am launching a recipe off Taylor’s nutrient and energy packed hibernation fuel – potatoes, butter, milk and eggs – to create a variation of one of my favorite foods – quiche.
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As an eater I love quiche because I think it tastes delicious, but I also love it as a cook; it offers an endlessly adaptable platform for creating delicious meals. This being the season for winter squash, which is also the season for being frustrated by what to do with winter squash, I decided to incorporate squash into a quiche to see what would happen. I also decided to borrow some of the pumpkin pie spices from Brianna’s Pumpkin Spiced Russian – nutmeg and clove added a subtle breath of holiday spice to the mix.
You’ll notice that my crust is a little different as well – I forwent a traditional dough crust, using roasted sliced potatoes to line the bottom of my pie dish. Ideally I would have been able to flip the quiche out of the pan, resulting in a savory upside down quiche decorated with medallions of roasted potatoes (I was inspired by a friend of mine who brought a dish like this to a dinner party recently). It didn’t quite work out that way – a less liquidy filling is probably in order. Even though I couldn’t execute the fancy flip, the crust was delicious and worked beautifully with the rest of the flavors in the dish. I highly recommend it for anyone looking for crust alternatives. Please leave a comment and let me know about any other vegetable crusts that you enjoy.
My pumpkin, onion, potatoes and sage all came from Monkshood Nursery, the farm that I work for as a Greenmarket sales representative. Almost everything else for this dish was sourced from my fellow market vendors: the bacon is from Grady’s Farm, the cheese is Cherry Grove Farm’s – raw milk Herdsman, and the eggs are from Madura Farms. Local, fresh, and delicious.
Pumpkin Quiche with Roasted Potato Crust
Prep Time: 50 minutes
Cooking Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 30 mins
Yield: 8 servings
For the crust:
- 4 large fingerling potatoes (about 1 1/2” diameter)
- 2 Tablespoons butter
For the filling:
- 1 cup cubed pumpkin or other winter squash
- 4 strips of smoked bacon
- 1 medium onion
- 4 eggs
- 2 cups milk
- 1/4 cup grated cheese
- 6 leaves fresh sage, minced
- 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- salt and pepper to taste
For the crust:
- Preheat the oven to 350º F
- Slice the potatoes into this discs – as thin as possible, don’t worry if they are all perfect round – you can overlap them.
- Grease a pie dish with butter 1 Tablespoon butter. Line the dish with potatoes, getting them as close together as possible, I did about 3 layers of potatoes to get even coverage. Dab the top layer with the rest of the butter to help with browning.
- Bake for 15 minutes. Set aside.
For the filling:
- While the crust is baking you can get started on the filling. Slice the bacon into small pieces and fry over medium heat – no need to go all the way and make it super crispy since it will lose any crispiness once it is baked into the quiche. Just get it good and brown. Set aside.
- While the bacon is frying dice the onion. Once the bacon is done, sautée the onion in the bacon grease (about 5 minutes). Yum.
- Peel and cube about 1 cup of pie pumpkin or other winter squash. I used a quarter of the pumpkin that I had (I roasted the rest the next day for another dish – you could even roast any extra squash along side the quiche & get a jump on a second dish). Steam or boil the cubed pumpkin for 15 minutes.
- In a mixing bowl combine the milk, eggs, grated cheese, nutmeg, cloves and minced sage leaves. Whisk until frothy!
- Spread the onions over the bottom of the pie dish, layer bacon on top and the pumpkin on top of that.
- Fill the pie dish with the egg and milk mixture (I used a ladle since I didn’t trust myself to be able to pour it into the dish without making a giant mess).
- Bake at 350º F for about 40 minutes, until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
- When you remove the quiche from the oven, give it some time to cool a little, about 15 minutes – this will help the filling set. Quiche is very amenable to being re-heated (you can also freeze the finished quiche to save for later).
- Serve hot or cold with a pile of leafy greens, delicious for breakfast lunch or dinner!
Sarah A. Maine is a Co-Founder & Editor of RecipeRelay, on most Sundays she can be found spreading the good news about organic produce at the Monkshood Nursery farm stand at the Jackson Heights Greenmarket in Queens, NY.