Recipe development is a constant process, and everything that I eat (or see, or think about eating) becomes a recipe possibility. So here we are. I have a recipe for a spinach quiche that I make to take to people in need of a meal or sometimes for a luncheon. It’s the kind of thing you can pretty much have all the ingredients on hand and it is really easy to pull together. Once, near the new year, I was whipping up one of these and with the traditional greens and pork of New Year’s day on my mind – eating filed peas for luck and greens for prosperity on New Years’ Day is a Southern must – I suddenly thought maybe I could make a collard green version. And yes, indeed, you can to amazing result. I added some salty country ham and my omnipresent pimentos for color and snap and it has been a huge hit on New Year’s day. In fact, a couple of folks who are not huge fans of collards but always eat a bite for prosperity, ate their whole slice and loved it. So serve a slice of this alongside a simple pot of black-eyed peas and you are sure to have a good year.
I find frozen collards in Southern grocery stores, but you can also chop and cook some fresh collards, still squeezing out the liquid and use those, or frozen turnip greens. And I suppose spinach is still a good luck green so you could use that in a pinch (though it is not so Southern!). I use a packet of country ham “biscuit slices” but you could also use a center cut slice. And you can use any extra in the pot of peas. Smoked cheddar cheese adds such a rich and traditional undertone I really recommend it, but plain cheddar will work too. And for more good luck ideas, check out my recipe index for collard greens and black-eyed peas.
Collard and Country Ham Quiche
1 frozen collard greens, thawed in a wire sieve over the sink
3 ounces center cut country ham biscuit slices (about 3)
4 green onions, white and light green parts only
8 ounces smoked cheddar cheese
1 (4 ounce) jar diced pimentos, drained and rinsed
1 crust for a 9 – inch pie (bought ready rolled, or homemade)
6 large eggs
2 cups heavy cream
½ teaspoon kosher salt
Generous grinds of black pepper
- Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9-inch removable bottom tart pan with cooking spray.
- Drain the moisture from the thawed collards. I put them in a thin tea towel and twist and squeeze until as much liquid as I can manage comes out. Dice the country ham slices into very small bits (I use scissors). Finely mince the green onions. Grate the smoked cheddar. Rinse and drain the pimentos and set everything aside waiting to go into the quiche.
- Fit the pie crust into the tart pan and place the pan on a baking sheet. Sprinkle half of the grated cheese evenly over the bottom of the crust. Whisk the eggs together in a large mixing bowl until combined, then whisk in the heavy cream, salt and pepper until very well combined and smooth. Drop in the country ham, green onions and pimentos, switch to a spatula and stir to evenly distribute everything. Crumble in the collard greens (they clump up when you squeeze out the liquid, so break them up as you put them in the bowl). Add all but a handful of the remaining grated cheese and stir to distribute all the ingredients evenly. Pour the filling into the crust and spread it to fill evenly. Sprinkle over the last handful of cheese and bake for 30 – 40 minutes until puffed and set. Cool for 10 minutes before slicing and serving. The quiche can be cooled, covered and refrigerated for up to a day, or cooled, removed from the pan, tightly wrapped in plastic and frozen for up to month. Thaw in the fridge overnight if needed, then gently reheat until warmed through.