Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Bacon Cheddar Quiche with Caramelized Onions

Honestly, quiche is the best dish to take along to dinner parties and potlucks. You can serve it warm or at room temperature, it's quick to make, and you can make it as trashy or as fancy as you want! Quiche doesn't discriminate between the rich or the broke: it is delicious for all.

Anyway, for a friend's party, I wanted to make something savory and cheesy. So, a quiche with some of my favorite ingredients was obviously in order. I used the base recipe in this post, and improvised the rest. I also made 3 of these, so just adjust accordingly to make one quiche

I started by roasting a pack of Brooklyn Cured bacon (you can use whatever kind you like) in a 400 degree oven.

Just lay the strips on a foil/parchment/silpat covered baking sheet, and let it roast til it's nice and crisp. Make sure you keep an eye on it, it'll happen faster than you think.
Of course, I drained the delicious bacon fat that remained, and it'll be put to use somewhere else (biscuits and gravy, perhaps?).

While that was going on, I diced up a huge Spanish onion, and a medium red onion. It was what I had on hand, and I also love the extra sweetness that red onions have when they're caramelized.

I put the onion in a wide skillet over medium heat with two pats of butter, a swirl of olive oil, and began saute-ing. After about 5 minutes, I sprinkled a hearty pinch of sea salt to draw out a lot of the onion's natural water. Then, I turned the heat to medium low, and let the caramelization begin.

As you're using your spatula to turn the onions, you'll notice that they will start to turn translucent. Then, after about 5 minutes, they'll start to turn a little golden at the edges. I obviously don't walk away from the stove, but I don't go crazy agitating them. Once I noticed the bottom of the pan getting too dry, I stir the onions around and then I added a little bit of water to loosen the onions from the pan. I did this about every 5-10 minutes as I prepared the other ingredients.

The whole point of this is to brown all of those natural sugars in the onion and intensify their sweet flavor. This may take more or less time depending on what type of onions you're using because they all have different amounts of sugar. My batch took about 45 minutes. Once the onions were deep brown and soft, I added freshly cracked black pepper, a tiny bit of sea salt, and about two teaspoons of dried thyme, for a herbal note. Oh! I added a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar, too....because it makes the onions even more brown and delicious...and because I'm extra.

For the actual quiche bases, I beat 6 eggs with pepper, salt, and some nutmeg (freshly grated, if you please).

Then, I poured in three cups of half and half. If you're feeling more indulgent, you can totally use heavy cream.

To complete the trio of fillings, I grated about 2 and a half cups of sharp cheddar cheese. The kind I used happened to be on sale, and from Wisconsin. I hear that's where happy cows really come from.

Clockwise, from left to right: Caramelized Onions, egg and cream mixture, cheddar cheese, crispy bacon
Now, I didn't have time to make my own crusts, so I just used ones from my grocery's freezer section. I like the Pilsbury-Pet Ritz brand. 3 crusts, for three lovely quiches.

Start by putting down a layer of the caramelized onions. Just make sure they evenly cover the bottom of the crust, because you want there to be onions in every bite. Then, crumble up the bacon with your hands, and put down a layer of that.

And finally, a good handful of the cheese. Reserve about a half cup of cheese to put on top on the quiche toward the end of its baking. Give the egg mixture a final whisking, just to make sure everything is combined, and pour it into the crust.

Make sure the eggs are settled evenly around the filling, because the mixture will expand as it bakes. Bake the quiches in a 350 degree for 40 minutes...pull them out at this point and sprinkle on the remaining cheese. Return them to the oven and bake until the cheese on top gets bubbly and brown (2-3 minutes). Let it cool for 10 minutes before serving. You can eat it warm, or cold.

I am a simple girl with simple needs....bacon, caramelized onions, and cheese. Get on this quiche, folks!

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