Sunday, October 23, 2011

Simply Recipes: Wild Mushroom Quiche

You know what I've never tried to make myself?  Quiche.  I have never made quiche.  It just always seemed so complicated.  And I've had some bad quiche in my days, so I didn't want mine to be a rubbery, tasteless pile of eggs like those other bad quiches.  This was a lot of quiche-related stress.  Luckily, I found a delicious quiche recipe for an eggy breakfast full of the my favorite thing: mushrooms.  Tons of mushrooms.  And it came out tasting fab-u-lous.

Note:  I used (from top right, moving clockwise) yellow oyster, shiitake, chanterelle, morel, and blue foot mushrooms.  But of course use whatever you can find at your local store.

Wild Mushroom Quiche
Adapted from Simply Recipes and Martha Stewart Living magazine, June 2002

Pâte Brisée
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium shallots, thinly sliced
1 pound assorted wild mushrooms, quartered or sliced
¾ teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper
½ cup whole milk
½ cup heavy cream
3 large eggs
Pinch nutmeg
6 ounces Gruyère or Comté cheese, grated

On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a 12-inch circle. Fit into a 10x1½-inch round cake pan or springform pan, pressing dough into corners. Transfer to the freezer and chill for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line the pastry with parchment paper, pressing into the corners and edges. Fill at least ⅔ with baking weights or dry beans. Bake first for 15 minutes, remove from the oven and let cool for a few minutes. Carefully remove the parchment paper and weights. Poke the bottom of the pan with the tongs of a fork and return to the oven and bake an additional 10 minutes or until lightly golden. Transfer to a wire rack to cool while making filling.

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add shallots and cook, stirring, until translucent but not brown, about 1 minute. Add mushrooms and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until mushrooms first release their liquid and then the liquid evaporates and the mushrooms are golden brown, about 8 to 10 minutes.

Place the cake pan on a baking sheet to catch any overflow. Sprinkle half the cheese evenly over the bottom of the crust. Spread the mushrooms over the cheese and then top with the remaining cheese. In a medium bowl, whisk together milk, cream, and eggs. Season with nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Pour over cheese. Transfer pan to the oven, and bake until just set in the center, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for about 10 minutes before slicing.

Makes 8 to 10 servings

Pâte Brisée
1¼ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon granulated sugar
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, frozen, cut into ½-inch cubes
3 to 4 tablespoons water, ice cold

Place the flour, salt, and sugar into a food processor and pulse until well combined. Add half of the butter cubes and pulse 6 to 8 times. Then add the other half of the butter cubes and pulse 6 to 8 more times. The mixture should resemble coarse meal, with many butter pieces the size of peas.

Add a couple tablespoons of ice water to the food processor bowl and pulse a couple of times. Then add more ice water, slowly, about a tablespoon at a time, pulsing after each addition, until the mixture just barely begins to clump together. If you pinch the crumbly dough and it holds together, it’s ready. If not, add some more water and pulse again.

Remove the crumbly mixture from the food processor and place on a very clean, smooth surface. Press the heel of your palm into the crumbly mixture, pressing down and mashing the mixture into the table top, 4 to 6 times. Use your hands to press the crumbly dough together and shape into a disk. Work the dough only enough to just bring the dough together. Do not over knead, or your dough will end up tough. Sprinkle the dough disk with a little flour on all sides. Wrap the disk in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

When you are ready for the dough, remove the disk from the refrigerator and place on a clean, smooth, lightly floured surface. Let the dough sit for 5 to 10 minutes so that it will be easier to roll out.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

The Homesick Texan Cookbook: Seven-Chile Texas Chili

Want a project that will keep you entertained for most of the day?  I've got one for you.  Making Texas chili.  It only takes, oh, FIVE HOURS.  Not that bad.  And it's pretty darn spicy, so if you have issues with that, you might want to cut the cayenne and chiles de arbol way back.  But otherwise, this will put some hair on your chest.

Seven-Chile Texas Chili
Adapted from The Homesick Texan Cookbook by Lisa Fain

6 dried ancho chiles
2 dried pasilla chiles
2 dried guajillo chiles
2 dried chipotle chiles
4 dried chiles de arbol
4 pieces of bacon
4 pounds chuck roast, cut into ¼-inch cubes
1 large onion, diced
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup brewed coffee
1 bottle of beer (preferably Corona or Dos Equis)
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
½ teaspoon ground allspice
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon grated Mexican hot chocolate (such as Abuelita tablets)
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
4 dried pequin chiles
2 tablespoons masa harina
Grated Cheddar and chopped onions, for serving

Remove the seeds and stems from the dried chiles.  In a dry skillet heated on high, toast the ancho chiles, pasilla chiles, guajillo chiles, chipotle chiles, and chiles de arbol on each side for about 10 seconds or just until they start to puff.  Fill the skillet with enough water to cover chiles.  Leave the heat on until the water begins to boil and then turn off the heat and let the chiles soak until soft, about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large, heavy pot such as a Dutch oven, fry the bacon on medium heat.  When it's done, remove from the pan and drain on a paper-towel-lined plate.  Leave the bacon grease in the pot, and on medium heat, cook the beef on each side until lightly browned, about 10 minutes.  (You may have to do this in batches.)

Remove the browned beef from the pot.  Leaving the heat on, add the diced onions to the pot and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds.  Add the beef back into the pot, crumble in the bacon, and add the coffee, beer, cumin, oregano, cinnamon, cloves, allspice, cayenne, chocolate, 3 cups of water, and salt.  Turn the heat up to high.

While the pot is coming to a boil, make the chile puree.  Drain and rinse the chiles, then place them in a blender along with the pequin chiles (you don't need to presoak these little chiles) and add 1 cup of fresh water.  Puree until nice and smooth and then pour the chile puree into the pot.

When the chili begins to boil, turn the heat down to low and simmer, uncovered, for 5 hours, stirring occasionally.  Taste it once an hour and adjust seasonings.  If it starts to get too dry, add more water.  After 5 hours, scoop out ¼ cup of broth out of the pot and combine with the masa harina.  Pour the masa harina mixture into the pot and stir until the chili is thickened.  Let the chili simmer for another 30 minutes or so.  When done, serve with Cheddar and onions.

Makes 6 to 8 servings

Note: If you can't find all of these chiles, just use the more readily available anchos and chipotles.