Minnesota is certainly living up to its Siberian winter image. We got 20 inches of snow on Saturday, and the temperature right now is -8 degrees. Though the Metrodome collapsed, my chicken coop stood strong. And despite the cold, our chickens are outside braving the weather like champs — laying eggs and eating table scraps. They apparently don’t “need” a heat lamp, but my household is in the camp where we treat our chickens more like pets and so, they must be warm.
This warmth has the added benefit of making them lay eggs during the winter, which they don’t naturally do. Many farms “rest” their chickens during the winter, which tends to make for healthier birds. But what’s a healthy bird if it’s frozen?
Anyways, this episode is for the chickens and about the chickens. I follow it up with a recipe for a very decadent quiche made with winter greens. Mine’s all gone now, but yours could make a great holiday breakfast/brunch dish.
Kale and Cheddar Quiche
Adapted from a recipe for Thomas Keller’s Quiche Lorraine
For the crust
2 cups flour, plus a little more for rolling
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 lb. unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
1/4 cup ice water
For the filling
2 cups milk
2 cups heavy cream
6 large eggs
1 bunch kale, stems removed and leaves chopped
1/4 lb. grated cheddar cheese
Bunch of thyme
Salt and pepper to taste
To make the pastry dough, on low speed in a mixer, add 1 cup of the flour and slowly add the butter until completely incorporated. Add the remaining flour and mix until just combined. Add the cold water so the dough bunches together but doesn’t stick to the sides or the paddle. It should be smooth. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour.
Roll out the dough on a clean surface with a little additional flour. Grease a 9-inch cake-release pan and carefully lower the dough into the pan, lightly pressing it down into the corners. Make sure you don’t remove the excess dough, or your tart will shrink too much and it will end up like mine.
Line the dough with parchment and fill with dried beans to weight the pastry down, making sure that they are touching the sides. Pre-bake for 40 minutes at 375 F. Remove from the oven.
For the filling, sauté a diced onion with a little butter and salt until translucent. Add the chopped kale and a little white wine to the pot and cover. Let it simmer for five minutes. Uncover and sauté the greens until
just cooked, then taste and salt accordingly.
Combine cream, milk, eggs, salt and thyme in a mixing bowl. Use a hand blender to thoroughly combine. Taste for salt, and add more if you like.
In the bottom of the cake pan, add the kale mixture, followed by the cheese, followed by the milk/egg mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for an hour and 15 minutes. The top of the quiche should jiggle like it is set, not splash like liquid. Let cool and serve at room temperature, or heated up by the slice in the oven.
I served it with a salad of celery leaves, Honeycrisp apples, and cider vinegar.