bobotie a South African shepherd’s pie+quiche

What is a shepherd’s pie + quiche but a “piche”? A bobotie is a cross between a shepherd’s pie and a quiche which aptly describes this dish from South Africa, with the savoury flavours of a shepherd’s pie and the silky eggy goodness of a quiche. Both are pies, to be sure, and the bobotie (boh-boh-tee?) gets its brilliant yellow hue from the turmeric and curry powder (I didn’t have garam masala). The spices, however, were balanced and flavourful without being overpowering. It was just too sweet to my liking (4 tablespoons of orange preserves. I didn’t have any apricot). And it was too salty for Andy–my adding salt was over compensation for the sweetness. I should have used lemon or lime juice to create some tart notes to balance the sweet and the salt.

Bobotie (adapted from Chef Aliya LeeKong, Food Network)

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: 30 minutes

Resting time: 10 minutes

Special Equipment: 2 quart oven-ready dish, large roasting pan with deep sides

Meat Filling:

1 slice white bread or brioche (I used multigrain bread)

2/3 cup milk (whole or low-fat)

2-3 tablespoons rice bran oil (can use vegetable)

1 large onion, finely chopped

Salt

1-2 green chilies, chopped (seeds removed, if desired)

1/2 to 1 teaspoon minced ginger (to taste)

3-4 large garlic cloves, minced

1/2 teaspoon each of turmeric, ground cumin, ground coriander, paprika (hot or sweet, is up to you)

1/4 teaspoon each of cayenne pepper, ground garam masala (I used curry powder)

Freshly ground black pepper

1 1/2 pounds ground meat or a mixture of beef, pork, and veal

2-4 tablespoons apricot or orange preserves

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 plum tomato, seeds removed, coarsely chopped

Egg Custard:

4 eggs beaten

3/4 cup heavy whipping cream (I used 3/4 cup milk + 2 tablespoons cornstarch)

Large pinch of salt

Scallions, sliced, for garnish (optional)

Heat oven to 350˚F/175˚C. Adjust the oven rack to the middle of the oven.

Place bread in a small bowl and pour in 2/3 cup of milk. Let sit until ready to used. Turn to coat both sides. Set aside.

Heat a large skillet or wok over medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons oil, onions, chilies, ginger, and a light sprinkling of salt to draw out the water. Sauté 4-5 minutes or until the onions are translucent. Add garlic and spices and saute 30 seconds until you can smell the garlic. If the garlic begins to brown, add 1 tablespoon water.

Increase heat to medium high and push the vegetables to one side of the skillet or wok. If the pan is very dry, add the remaining tablespoon of oil. Brown the ground meat, 3-4 minutes, breaking up the large pieces as it cooks. Add 2 tablespoons of the preserves, vinegar, and tomato. Be cautious adding the preserves. Taste. If not sweet enough to your taste, add more. Season with salt. Lower heat and simmer, uncovered, 15-20 minutes for flavours to develop. Taste and adjust seasoning. I added a dash of fish sauce for the umami. Off the heat and let cool.

Wring out the excess milk from the bread, crumble it over the meat mixture. Mix in thoroughly. Taste, and if necessary, season again. Instead of adding more preserves or salt, add a squeeze of lemon or lime juice and taste. See how it tastes, then add more preserves and salt, but be moderate. Scrape meat mixture into a 2 quart baking dish. Smooth the top and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine 4 eggs, 3/4 cup cream or milk, 2 tablespoons cornstarch (if using milk) and a pinch of salt. Whisk vigorously to incorporate the cornstarch, if using. Pour the egg mixture on top of the meat mixture. No need to mix it in. Put the dish inside the roasting pan. It should fit with enough space around all sides. Put the pan in the oven and carefully pour hot water around the dish until it comes halfway up the sides of the baking dish.

Bake 25-30 minutes or until the custard is just set. It shouldn’t be liquid in the middle; but it should jiggle a bit in the center. Take the pan out of the oven and let the bobotie sit in the water bath 10 minutes to firm up after baking. Remove the baking dish from the water bath and cool slightly. Sprinkle sliced scallions on top if you wish. Spoon it out onto a plate and eat with a large green salad, and some chopped chilies if your partner likes bobotie with his chilies.

spinach-potato crustless quiche

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Though the spinach and potato are the stars of this crustless quiche, they wouldn’t be stars if it weren’t for the garlic, feta cheese, onion, and herbs. They work their magic to make this egg pie the tastiest ever.

Spinach-Potato Crustless Quiche
Prep time: 20 minutes
Bake time: 25 minutes
Servings: 6-8

Ingredients:
1 bunch fresh spinach, chopped
1 medium potato, diced into 1/2 inch pieces
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup onions, chopped
4 large cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon oregano
1 tablespoon rosemary
1/2 cup (2.5 oz) crumbled feta
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
2/3 cup fat free milk
2 large eggs, beaten
1/2 tsp salt
fresh cracked pepper to taste
cooking spray
Sriracha sauce

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400°. Lightly spray a 9 inch pie dish with cooking spray. Cut spinach into 2 inch lengths.

Heat olive oil in a large dutch pot. When the oil is hot, add the spinach and cook it down until it is bright green and slightly wilted. Remove from heat and drain any excess water. When cool enough to handle, coarsely chop the spinach. Set aside.

In a small saucepan, boil 2 cups water with a little salt. Cook the potatoes until tender, about 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Mix spinach, potatoes, onions, garlic, oregano, rosemary, feta cheese and Parmesan cheese in a large bowl.

Sift flour and baking powder in the workbowl of a food processor. Add milk, beaten eggs, salt, pepper, to flour mixture in the bowl. Process until well blended.

Combine flour mixture with spinach mixture, and mix well. Scrape into pie dish.
Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until knife comes out clean when pierced near the center. Let it stand at least 5 minutes before serving. Serve with sriracha sauce.

savory egg pudding

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savory egg pudding

A cross between a crustless quiche and an egg pie, this savory pudding has a mild herbal flavor and a delicate custard-like consistency. Parboiling or pre-cooking the potatoes is an important first step in ensuring that the potatoes cook at the same time the egg custard sets.

Savory Egg Pudding (adapted from Chowhound)
Prep time: 20 minutes
Baking time: 30 minutes
Resting time: 20 minutes

Ingredients
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 cup half-and-half (half cup milk and half cup heavy cream)
3 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
1 cup heavy cream
salt
white pepper
2 medium potatoes, thinly sliced (can be peeled or not)
2 tablespoons finely chopped tarragon
2 tablespoons finely chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon finely chopped dill
2 tablespoons unsalted butter plus more to grease the pan
2 medium leeks, halved lengthwise and then sliced crosswise, white and pale green parts only
2-4 large garlic cloves, peeled and minced

1. Put the oven rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 375˚F/200˚C. Grease a 2 quart baking dish generously with butter and set aside.

2. In a blender jar, combine the flour, half of the half-and-half, the eggs, and the egg yolk. Pulse several times until smooth. Add the remaining half and half and the cream. Season well with salt and white pepper to taste. Pulse to combine. Set aside.

3. Slice the potatoes thinly with a mandoline. Put potatoes in a large pan of boiling salted water and cook for 2-3 minutes or until just tender. Drain the potatoes and put them in a large bowl. Add the chopped tarragon, parsley, and dill. Season with salt and white pepper. Toss to coat.

4. In a large saucepan, melt the butter. Sauté the leeks and the garlic 5-6 minutes or until wilted. Mix the cooked leeks with the potatoes and herbs. Season with additional salt and pepper. Evenly spread the potato mixture in the prepared baking dish and then pour the egg mixture on top.

5. Bake until the egg custard is puffy and golden. It should set in about 30-35 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven. Let the pudding rest 20 minutes before serving. Serve warm or at room temperature with a few twists of Himalayan pink salt and black peppercorns.