Last Year's Post: Lentil Soup with Spicy Italian Sausage
Two Years Ago: Savory Breakfast Scones
We all know that dark leafy greens are really good for us, but getting them into your diet is sometimes the hard part. We also know it's good to eat vegetarian once in a while. This rustic pie is a delicious option to meet both of those goals. It's very flavorful and has a rich, creamy texture from the potatoes and cheese. It's warm, earthy and hearty, perfect for a fall dinner on a cool night. Serve it with a bright salad of corn, cherry tomatoes and green onions to balance all those earthy flavors.
It would make a wonderful meal for any vegetarians you might happen to know. Or, you could always add cooked sausage or bacon to the pie if you're serving people who really want meat - and they'll still get the nutritional value of the greens.
I always like to talk about ingredient substitutions. In this recipe you can use any combination of greens that you want - I chose half kale (bold flavor) and half spinach (milder flavor) but chard, collard greens or mustard greens would also work. Regarding the cheese, I think you could substitute pretty much any cheese you want for the Gruyere - blue cheese would be an especially interesting choice. If you go for blue cheese, for some reason a little voice in my head tells me that chopped walnuts would be a good addition. Blue cheese and walnuts go well together.
This type of rustic pie is also called a galette or a tart. As I mentioned, it's hearty enough to be a dinner entree, or you could cut it in small pieces served cold for a tapas party. I particularly like this type of rustic pie because you don't have to be overly perfect with the pie crust - if the edges crack when you roll it out, no big deal - it's just that much easier to fold over the filling.
The key is to make sure the greens have released their liquid and the liquid has evaporated prior to taking them off the heat, otherwise the filling may give up a little liquid when you cut the pie. One tip is to set the greens aside for a few minutes to cool. Drain any liquid that may have accumulated in the bottom of the bowl or pan before adding to the potatoes. By the way, this goes for any greens added to any pie or quiche - you'll often see recipes for chopped spinach that tell you to squeeze all the liquid out prior to adding it to the other ingredients. Same principle.
After that it's really easy to add the filling to the pie crust, fold the edges up and over, brush with a little egg and bake. Although I didn't try it myself, I don't see any reason why you couldn't prepare the pie in advance and refrigerate it covered with plastic wrap, then bake it after coming home from work. It might take a few more minutes in the oven since it's cold.
If you've been having a hard time figuring out how to get those dark leafy greens into your diet, this might just be the way.
Rustic Greens and Potato Pie
Note: A simple salad of cherry tomatoes, corn and green onions dressed with a little olive oil is an excellent accompaniment.
1 pie crust (homemade or store-bought)
¾ lb small boiling potatoes, such as Yukon Gold or Red Bliss
1 medium onion
2 pounds cooking greens, such as chard, spinach, kale, collards, or a mixture
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 ounces Gruyere cheese
1 ounce Parmigiano-Reggiano
1 cup ricotta
1/8 teaspoon fresh-grated nutmeg
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 large eggs
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Scrub the potatoes and cut them into 1 ½” pieces; place in a medium saucepan. Add cold salted water to cover by 1”. Bring the water to a boil over high heat; reduce heat to low and simmer the potatoes for 15 to 20 minutes, until tender when pierced with a knife.
Meanwhile, finely chop the onion (about 1 cup). Thoroughly rinse and spin dry the greens, remove the tough stems, and chop the leaves (about 24 cups). (The tougher the greens, the finer you should chop.)
Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat until hot. Reduce the heat to medium-low; add the onion and cook for 5 minutes until softened. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add half the greens and cook for 4-6 minutes, until wilted. Remove the greens with tongs to a medium bowl. Repeat with the remaining greens. Return the first batch of greens to the skillet and cook everything for 2 minutes more, or until any liquid that collected in the skillet has evaporated. Set aside.
When the potatoes are done, drain and mash using a potato masher. Combine the potatoes and greens in a large bowl and set aside to cool slightly.
Roll the pastry out to make a 12” round. Fit the pastry into a 9-inch pie plate; press against the sides of the plate allowing the excess to hang over the edges. Put the pie plate in the refrigerator while preparing the remaining ingredients.
Grate the Gruyere (about ½ cup) and Parmigiano-Reggiano (about 1/2 cup); fold the cheeses into the potato mixture along with the ricotta, nutmeg, and salt and pepper to taste.
Lightly beat the eggs, reserving one tablespoon. Stir the rest of the eggs into the potato mixture and spoon the filling into the pie plate. Gently fold the overhanging pastry over the filling, pleating as necessary to make it fit. It will make a border covering the edges of the filling but the center will be uncovered. Brush the pastry with the remaining 1 tablespoon egg.
Bake the pie for about 40 minutes or until the filling is heated through and the pastry is golden. Let stand 10 minutes before cutting.