Many of you may remember Josette Smyrl who coordinated our hotels and meals in France for years. Josette has retired and lives in Provence with her husband and gardener extraordinaire Sam. Her culinary expertise is well-known in Fort Collins, Colorado for the restaurant she once owned and as the first person recruited to do culinary demonstrations at The Cupboard – THE cooking store in town. During a recent email conversation with Josette she mentioned that she was about to make dinner. We couldn’t resist asking what she was making and if she’d share the recipe and a story. Fortunately she agreed!
The chard harvest was August 2012 but the cooking happens tonight! One of the best qualities of chard is that it freezes so well (after being chopped, blanched and drained of most water) and with a little experience you’ll fine tune your quantities and learn to bag just enough chard for one quiche. This is a family favorite because the chard is perfect for spring harvests or a welcome break from winter vegetables!
The recipe is also well suited for all. Vegetarians can have fun adding bits of sun dried tomatoes or a few pitted black olives, carnivores can do it too, adding bits of smoked bacon or diced ham. I recommend being adventurous and not being afraid to try new things to me this is the mark of a real cook!
The Greens. Whether you pick them in your own garden or buy them at a local farmers market, you’ll need a large “bouquet” of fresh chard.
- Cut off the large white stems, chop the green leaves in large chunks and “blanch” them for a few minutes in a big pot of boiling water. This is quick — 5 minutes maximum.
- Put the chard in a strainer and get out how much water as possible. You should now have about one and a half pounds of cooked greens.
- Chop them again, very finely this time.
Line your 12 inch pie pan with a pie crust of your choice. Precook* in a 350F oven for no more than 10 minutes.
In a large bowl: whip 5 eggs, 3/4 cup of milk – or light cream
Add the well-strained, finely chopped chard
Mix in 1 cup of grated Swiss cheese
Add salt and pepper.
Pour mixture into the pie crust
Add a little extra grated cheese on top
Bake at 350 F for about 20 minutes
More experienced cooks will “just know” when it’s ready… if that’s not you insert a knife in the middle of the pie and see that it comes out clean.
* Precooking a pie crust info for beginners: Line your raw crust with parchment paper, fill with pie weights of your choice, and bake. Pie weights are essential for the crust to stay flat while cooking. Be sure to take out the paper and pie weights before pouring in the filling!