Friday, April 19, 2013

Cotswold Quiche

Last Year's Post: Ravioli with Apples and Walnuts

Cheese is one of my favorite foods, and Cotswold is my favorite type of cheese.  If you're not familiar with Cotswold you should really give it a try.  Technically it's a Double Gloucester cheese from England that contains spring onions and chives.  I think of it as a really good cheddar with chives.  This was how it was displayed in my store's cheese department - the label on the other side of each cut piece listed the weight, price, and labeled it "Cotswold".  You may find it labeled either way. 

I sometimes wonder what other shoppers think I'm doing when I take pictures in a store
I like Cotswold as a snack on crackers but I have to restrain myself from eating too much cheese and think of it as a special treat instead.  So, when I was planning to make a quiche I decided to create a Cotswold version.  I added broccoli for nutrition and because I like cheese and broccoli together, but you could substitute spinach instead.  Just don't add too much or too many other ingredients or you'll mask the flavor of the Cotswold.  Although most quiches include sauteed onions, I left them out of this recipe because the cheese already contains onions, part of its distinctive taste.

Because Cotswold is a semi-hard cheese, it tends to soften when left at room temperature which is perfectly fine when you're eating it on crackers but not so wonderful when you need to grate it for a quiche.  Grate it straight out of the refrigerator or put the wedge in the freezer for 10 minutes or so to make it even easier.

Just like some broccoli soups, some quiches have big chunks of broccoli.  I tend to like smaller pieces that are more evenly distributed throughout and faster to cook.  A couple of whaps in the food processor work perfectly.

In spring and summer we tend to want lighter meals, and quiche fits the bill.  On a really hot day you could even make the quiche in the morning and serve it at room temperature or cold with a salad that evening. It would also make a great brunch with some fruit and sausage on the side (Mother's Day, anyone?).  Leftovers are good for lunch the next day either hot or cold.

Regarding the crust - I wouldn't dare wade into the debate regarding homemade versus premade, or lard versus shortening.  People have deeply held beliefs on the subject - it's sort of like trying to discuss religion or politics.  You really can't win.  So I'm taking the chicken's way out and leaving it up to you.....whatever floats your boat.  I learned a while ago that there are issues where you should take a stand, and issues you should just walk away from.  :-)

click here for a printable recipe

Cotswold Quiche
serves 6-8
Note: you can substitute spinach for broccoli if you desire.

1 cup chopped fresh broccoli
1 tablespoon butter
1 9” pie crust, premade or homemade
4 eggs, well beaten
3/4 cup half & half
4 oz (approximately 1-1/4 cups) grated Cotswold cheese
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon butter, melted

Preheat oven to 375 F degrees.

Melt butter over medium-low heat in a large skillet with a lid.  Add the broccoli and stir.  Cook slowly, stirring occasionally until the broccoli is soft, approximately 8 minutes.  Adding a tablespoon or so of water and covering the pan for a few minutes helps speed the process and ensures the broccoli doesn’t burn; just be sure to remove the cover during the last few minutes so any remaining water evaporates.  Let cool.

In a medium bowl, combine the eggs, milk, salt, pepper and melted butter.  Set aside.

In a second bowl, combine the cooled broccoli and grated cheese and toss well.  Spread in the bottom of the pie crust.  Pour the egg mixture over the broccoli and cheese; press down lightly with a fork to make sure the broccoli-cheese mixture is mostly covered.

Place quiche on a baking sheet and bake for 40-45 minutes, until the center is set and the quiche is lightly browned.  Let stand 5 minutes before cutting.

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