Simple Suppers: Apple, Leek, and Cheddar Quiche

About a month ago, I made this Quiche for a quick Saturday night supper when my sister and her husband were in town.  It was incredible! Seriously, I took a bite and I think I complimented myself on the deliciousness.  And when I went to town this weekend I brought along some leeks for the express purpose of making this recipe for my parents.  And once again, everyone loved it!

I found the recipe in Recipes from the Root Cellar by Andrea Chesman. The first time I made the recipe I added chopped mushrooms and put it all in a pie crust. The second time, no mushrooms, no crust. Both times, delicious. So, that’s to say, the recipe is adaptable and easily made gluten-free.

APPLE, LEEK, AND CHEDDAR QUICHE
from Recipes from the Root Cellar
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Pastry for a 9-inch or 10-inch single crust pie (favorite gf crust works great)
3 Tbsp butter
1 large leek, trimmed and thinly sliced
1 large apple, peeled, cored, and chopped
2 Tbsp flour (for gf: 2 Tbsp all-purpose gf flour, or 1 Tbsp corn starch)
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 c. firmly packed grated sharp cheddar or smoked cheddar cheese
3-4 eggs
Milk or cream
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Preheat the oven to 375°.

Roll out and fit pastry crust into a 9- or 10-inch pie pan. Flute the edges

Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the leek and saute until limp, about 3 minutes. Add the apple and saute until the leeks are tender, about 3 minutes. Stir in the flour and thyme.

Sprinkle 1/2 c. of the cheese into the pie shell. Layer the leek mixture on top. Cover with remaining cheese. Beat the eggs in a glass measuring cup and add enough milk to make 1 1/2 cups. Season with salt and pepper. Pour over the pie filling.

Bake for 30-35 minutes, until puffed and browned. Let stand for at least 10 minutes before serving.

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Thanksgiving Sides: Part 2

(Alaina) This potato side dish is decadent and rich. Definitely a recipe that is reserved for special occasions and holidays but totally worth the caloric splurge! This is also adapted from Bon Appetit (can you see a theme this week – AWESOME recipes in the November issue!). Mmmm, delicious.

POTATO GRATIN w/MUSHROOMS
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1/4 c. olive oil
2 c. finely chopped leeks (white and green parts only; about 2 large)
1  lb. 1/2-inch cubes assorted mushrooms (I used shitake and baby bellas)
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 lb. Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled, cut into 1/8-inch-thick slices
2 c. heavy whipping cream
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 c. coarsely grated Gruyère or Swiss cheese

Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add leeks; sauté until soft and lightly browned, 10 to 12 minutes. Add mushrooms, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and sauté until soft and liquid evaporates, 7 to 8 minutes. Add garlic; sauté 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 375°F. Pat potato slices dry with kitchen towel. Combine cream, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in large pot. Add potatoes. Bring to boil; reduce heat to medium and simmer, covered, 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove lid; simmer until cream is reduced by about half and potatoes are partially cooked, stirring often and watching closely to prevent mixture from burning, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Brush 13x9x2-inch glass or ceramic baking dish with oil. Transfer half of potato mixture to dish, spreading out in even layer. Spoon mushroom mixture over in even layer. Spoon remaining potato mixture over, spreading in even layer. Sprinkle cheese over. Cover with foil, tenting in center to prevent cheese from sticking to foil. Bake 30 minutes. Uncover; bake until potatoes are tender and top is brown, 20 to 25 minutes longer. Let rest 10 minutes before serving.

(Stephanie) I had a half a loaf of gluten-free bread on hand, so I decided to try out a stuffing recipe from the November issue of Everyday Food. The nuts and mushrooms added a subtle, but pleasing taste and texture.

MUSHROOM AND WALNUT STUFFING
(from Everyday Food, November 2010)
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2 Tbsp olive oil
2 large yellow onions, diced small
3 celery stalks, diced medium (about 2 c.)
salt and pepper
10 oz cremini or button mushrooms, diced small
2 Tbsp fresh sage leaves, finely chopped
1/2 c. dry white wine
1 c. toasted walnuts, roughly chopped (I used pecans)
1 loaf crusty white bread, cut into 3/4-inch pieces (8 c.), left uncovered overnight or toasted (can use gf bread)
1- 1 1/2 c. chicken broth
2 large eggs, lightly beaten

In a large skillet, heat 1 Tbsp oil over medium-high heat. Add onions and celery; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are soft, 5-7 minutes; transfer to a large bowl. Add 1 Tbsp oil, mushrooms, and sage to skillet; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until mushrooms are browned, about 5 minutes. Add wine and cook, stirring and scraping up any browned bits with a wooden spoon, until wine is almost evaporated. Transfer to bowl with vegetables; add walnuts, cubed bread, and enough chicken broth to moisten (stuffing should feel moist, not soggy). Season with salt and pepper and toss to combine.

Add eggs to bread mixture and toss well to combine. Reserve up to 4 c. for stuffing turkey, if desired.  Spoon mixture into lightly oiled baking dish.  Preheat oven to 400°, with rack in upper third. Bake uncovered, until golden brown on top, about 30 minutes.

Here are some ideas from previous posts!
Sweet Potato & Cranberry Stuffing
Fresh Cranberry Orange Relish
Cranberry Sauce
Gluten-free Cornbread Sausage Stuffing

Market Fresh: Leeks

Leeks are intricately connected to Christmas-time for me. Growing up we ate them only once a year, but always on Christmas Eve when my mother made them into Potato Leek Soup. I realized there were many more delicious ways to use leeks when we lived in Scotland. There leeks are plentiful and commonly used for such things as soup, gratins, and side dishes. Similar in taste to an onion, but milder, leeks lend a lovely, savory taste to whatever dish they are added to.

Leeks come in a long, cylinder shape and need to be washed well before use. The easiest way to prepare leeks is to cut the very bottom off and begin slicing in thin rounds up through the white part and just into the green part. Separate the slices into little rings and gently wash. I use a salad spinner to wash and then spin dry the leek circles. If I don’t need a whole bunch of leeks at once, I freeze the extra on a baking sheet covered in parchment paper, removing them to a heavy plastic bag once frozen.

This week I have a great-tasting, easy recipe for using leeks: Creamy Chicken and Leeks served over a baked potato. It cooks up quickly and can be served with a salad alongside. For those of you interested in trying other leek recipes, let me suggest Alaina’s Potato Leek Soup, or this Creamy Baked Leeks with Citrus Crumbs, or perhaps just Buttered Leeks.

CREAMY CHICKEN AND LEEKS
(adapted from www.bbcgoodfood.com)

olive oil
6 strips bacon, chopped
2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into strips
2 leeks, sliced into thin rounds
1 Tbsp. plain flour
1 1/4 c. chicken stock
1 Tbsp. grainy mustard
2 Tbsp. sour-cream

Heat the oil in a large sauce pan and fry the bacon for 2 minutes. Add the chicken, then cook with the bacon for a further 2-3 minutes, until the pieces begin to turn golden. Tip in the leeks and cook gently for 10 minutes until leeks are wilted and tender.

Stir through the flour and gradually add the stock, stirring constantly. Add the grainy mustard and sour-cream, stir again, then simmer gently for 5 minutes until the sauce is slightly thickened and creamy.

Serve on top of baked potatoes.

Serves 4-6.