Nothing takes the chill off a winter’s day the aroma of a pie in the oven. As the author of a great big book on pie, it’s no secret that these crust-andfilling delicacies are my passion. But since all 300 of those recipes were for desserts, it might come as a surprise that many of my favorite pies are the savory dinner kind. Put a slice of quiche in front of me, and I instantly start to salivate even before I take the first bite; serve me a thin, flat galette, and I’m a goner. Top-crust pies such as Shepherd’s and Mexicali tickle my fancy too.
Why am I so smitten? For one, savory pies are always hearty dishes, so a simple salad is all you need to add. And even if they’re not as speedy as scrambling up a block of tofu, they won’t keep you in the kitchen all day. In fact, you can make the crust or filling a few hours or a day ahead, then throw together the rest when dinnertime nears. The following recipes are tried-and-true favorites that have fed friends and family over the years. And just like old friends, they will never let you down when you need a reliable dinner companion.
MUSHROOM AND SPINACH QUICHE
Quiche makes a comforting main dish for a family supper or a casual dinner party. Save time by making and baking the wholesome pastry 24 to 48 hours ahead of time. You can even prepare the sautéed mixture in advance—just refrigerate until needed.
2 Tbs. olive oil
1 medium-sized onion, halved and thinly sliced
11/2 cups thinly sliced mushroom caps
3 cups firmly packed baby spinach
1 clove garlic, minced (about 1 tsp.)
3 large eggs
1 cup milk, whole or reduced-fat
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1/4 tsp. salt
11/2 cups grated Gruyère cheese
1. Prepare Basic Pie Pastry (recipe below), and set aside to rest 10 minutes. Grease 91/2-inch deep-dish pie pan. Preheat oven to 400F.
2. Roll pastry into 12-inch circle between two sheets of wax paper or plastic wrap. Peel off top sheet; invert pastry over pie pan. Peel off second sheet, then tuck pastry into pan without stretching it, pinching overhang into an even edge. Chill 15 minutes. Smooth sheet of aluminum foil over pastry (it should fit like a glove); fill with dried beans or rice. Bake 20 minutes.
Remove pan from oven; lift foil with beans from pan. Using fork, pierce pastry 6 or 8 times. Reduce oven to 375F, and bake 7 minutes. Cool on wire rack. Leave oven on.
3. To make Filling: Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, and cook, stirring, 5 minutes. Add mushrooms; cover, and cook 3 to 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in spinach and garlic; cover, and cook 2 to 3 minutes, or until spinach is wilted.
4. Lightly whisk eggs in mixing bowl. Whisk in milk, mustard, pepper and salt.
5. Sprinkle 1/4 cup grated cheese over bottom of pastry. Bake 2 to 3 minutes to melt cheese.
6. Spread vegetable mixture in pastry shell. Sprinkle with half of remaining cheese. Slowly pour in egg mixture, then sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake 40 to 45 minutes, or until golden brown and slightly puffy. Transfer to wire rack, and let cool 15 minutes before serving.
PER SERVING: 386 CAL; 13G PROT; 27G TOTAL FAT (6.5G SAT. FAT); 24G CARB; 105MG CHOL; 353MG SOD; 2G FIBER; 4G SUGARS