Cool spring days still beckon hearty and spring time ingredient meal. Bright green Swiss chard this time of year is one of my favorites. Be in sautéed with garlic anchovy, and lemon… or in a light creamy flavorful pie.
Now, lets’ talk about the pastry I used…
I love this recipe for savory double crust pies and turnovers. It’s light and flaky, packed with flavor, and just the right amount of salt. Most times I prefer a blend of shortening and butter in my pastry/crust recipes. Shortening because of the structure it gives to pastry (flakiness being top of the list), and the butter because of flavor. For my savory crusts I trust butter flavored shortening. Surprisingly not so much in sweet crusts, but in savory crusts. The butter flavor is not that prominent but delicate enough that it enhances savory fillings for your favorite pot-pie or Shepherd's Pie recipes.
For The Pastry
2 cups all purpose unbleached flour
5 tablespoons frozen Butter Flavored Shortening, cubed(I keep plain and butter flavored Crisco baking sticks in my freezer. Always at the ready for biscuit making and pastry crusts)
8 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cubed
1 1/2 teaspoons Kosher Salt
5-6 tablespoons ice water
In a food processor add the flour along with the salt and pulse a few times to combine. Add shortening and butter, pulse to course corn meal size. With the processor running, one tablespoon at a time, add the ice water. When the dough balls up with the processor running, then your dough is ready. Pull out onto a lightly floured surface, knead a few times until satiny in feel, then wrap in plastic and chill for at least an hour.
For The Filling
1 large bunch/6 cups rough chopped* of Swiss Chard (Red, White, Or Rainbow, it’s your call)
grapeseed oil for sautéing
2 cups chopped leeks, rinsed well (about 1 large leek or 2 medium/small)
2 cloves garlic smashed and chopped
8 ounces grated Manchego cheese
4 tablespoons flour
2 cups chicken stock, salt-free
1 cup whole milk
Cook’s Line Seasoning (or kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper) to taste
1/2 teaspoon Whole Nutmeg, freshly grated ( or spice cabinet nutmeg)
Egg wash for your pastry
*I like to use a portion of the stem of the Swiss chard any time I use it in recipes… not all of the stems, about three or four from each stalk just to add texture. I trim off three or four stems and dice. The rest I pull away (or de-stem) from the leaf as you would with spinach or kale. I sauté the diced stem first because they will take longer to cook, then add the chopped/chiffonade leafy portion.
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Rinse and fester your Swiss Chard, reserving three or four of the stems to dice (see note above). Stack and Roll the leafy greens together and ribbon cut (chiffonade). You will need enough Swiss Chard chiffonade for six cups.
- Cut the leeks from the top root end to just where the leek begins to turn green. Slice the leeks lengthways in half then begin chopping into crescent moon slices. Add the chopped leeks to a bowl full ion water and really agitate with your hands. This will clean out the leeks of their sandy soil. Pull out the leeks after rinsing and the sandy soil has sunk to the bottom of the bowl. Lay out on a towel and press dry.
- Begin heating the grapeseed oil in a pan. Add the leeks to gently sauté along with the chopped Swiss chard stems. Add in the fresh garlic and season with Cook’s Line (or salt and pepper). Once the stem pieces and leeks are tender add in the chiffonade of chard; In batches if you have to because they will eventually cook down. Once all the chard is in and cooked down, cook until any excess moisture has evaporated.
- Now I’m going to hit you with yet another culinary term… and it is SINGER (pronounced: Saun-zhey) I know it looks like “singer” but in France, and french is the language of the kitchen, it is pronounced saun-zhey. The perfect drag queen name! Singer refers to "dusting the top lightly " and that is what you do with the flour. Singer the the cooked chard and leek mixture with the flour then mix in.
- Add the chicken stock and mix in throughout the greens. Cook until thickened, and add the whole milk. Now if you're looking for a “richer” pie add a spoonful (or three) of crème fraîche instead of the whole milk . Add the grated Manchego cheese in batches and stir in to melt and combine.
- After all the cheese has been added, taste for seasoning. Even after the salty cheese has been added, if you feel you need a little more salt then add. Set aside to cool.
- Remove the pastry dough from the fridge to a lightly dusted surface. Cut in half. Roll out one half, enough to cover the bottom and sides of a deep dish pie plate. Press down along the sides and bottom easily allowing for slack (Never tightly as dough shrinks when baking). A little over-hang is good.
- Fill the pie with your slightly cooled mixture. Roll out the second half of the pie pastry and top your pie. Roll and tuck in the top layer edge with the bottom layer edge and crimp/flute the crust.
- Brush the top with an egg wash, and place in the center of your oven, Bake approximately 30-35 minutes or until golden bubbly. Remove from the oven and let the pie set an cool for at least 25 minutes before cutting. This savory chard and manchego pie is AMAZING cold… like midnight snack cold…and breakfast cold. Enjoy!