Spud Sunday: Curious Spuds

Would you care for some wine with your meal? Why, yes, silly question, hand it over here’s my glass…

Now, I will put my hands up and say that I am no expert on the subject of fermented grape juice. That fact, however, does not deter me from quaffing my fair share. Expertise requires practice and I am all about further education for my taste and wine buds. So you can guess that I was more than happy to chat with the guys at Curious Wines about trying out some wine matches for the Daily Spud. I mean, where do I sign?

Some Curious French Wines

Some Curious French Wines

What emerged as part of the conversation was the one word that most speaks to me of both wine and potatoes, which is France. Its record on the wine-making front speaks for itself. Its record on culinary uses for the potato is no less impressive. This is the country that brought you potato gratin in its many forms, including pommes anna, a study in simplicity of ingredients and elegance of presentation, plus innumerable dishes bearing the name Parmentier, after Antoine Augustin Parmentier, the original French champion of the spud.

With this is mind, I hatched a plan to make something potato-y and French, while the Curious boys very kindly sent me some French wine which they thought might make a good match. My Frenchified potatoes consisted of a quiche with spuds appearing on the double, as part of the pastry crust and as part of the filling. The other players in the quiche, apart from the requisite eggs, were caramelised onions and goats cheese. The wines were red and white burgundies – Moillard Macon Superieur and Charles Thomas Bourgogne Chardonnay.

Not one to undertake a wine-tasting task on my own, I, as CEO (Chief Edibles Officer) was joined by resident sis as CTO (Chief Tasting Officer) and our friend Tim as COO (Chief Offerings Officer i.e. he brought the desserts). Well, we were most enamoured of both wines. The white was just ever so slightly but pleasantly sweet, while the red was lighter in body than I’m used to drinking but none the worse for that. As far as the food went, there was pretty much universal agreement on the fact that the white was a better match for the quiche. The layer of distinctly sweet, caramelised onions in the quiche worked very nicely with the slight sweetness of the white while it fought a little with the tannins in the red. That did not stop us enjoying the red, however. We were nothing if not dedicated to the task at hand.

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Curious Potato Quiche with Onion & Goats Cheese

This quiche is indeed, in its own way, somewhat curious, because spuds appear twice but not in any immediately identifiable form:

  • I used a potato pastry crust, which is nice for savoury uses, if a little bit hard to handle. You can substitute your own preferred pastry crust here as you like.
  • In an unusual (and admittedly experimental) step, I decided to grate and fry the potatoes before putting them into the quiche. The result was that they just kind of disappeared into the quiche and became part of the base. You can just replace with chunks of steamed or roasted potato if you prefer.

potato quiche

The crust:
  • 1 portion of potato pastry (see below) or use regular shortcrust pastry or pre-made as you prefer.
The filling:
  • 500g onion
  • 100g goats cheese
  • 250g potato
  • 8 medium eggs
  • 2-3 tsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • olive oil and butter for frying
You’ll also need:
  • Ovenproof dish – mine was 24cm diameter and about 3cm deep – plus some dried beans to use as weights when baking the crust.
The Steps:
  • Make a batch of potato pastry (below) or regular short-crust pastry for the crust. Following Jenni’s recommendation, once the pastry was made, I rolled it out between two layers of parchment paper and put the rolled-out dough in the fridge to rest while I got on with the fillings.
  • Next, caramelise the onions, which, if you want to get them really soft and sweet, could take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour. So…
  • Slice the onions thinly.
  • Place a pan over a medium-high heat and, when hot, add about 1 tblsp of olive oil and 1 tblsp of butter.
  • Add the onions to the pan and toss, so that they become well-coated with the cooking fat.
  • Lower the heat and allow the onions to cook, uncovered, stirring only very occasionally, until they eventually start to turn brown, as their sugars caramelise. I stirred in 1 tsp of brown sugar about 10 minutes into the process.
  • Once the onions are done, allow them to cool.
  • Meanwhile, peel and grate the potato, rinse and squeeze out any excess moisture. Heat your pan again and add about a tblsp of olive oil. When hot, add the potatoes and a pinch of salt and fry for about 10 minutes until starting to get a bit tender. Remove and cool.
  • Preheat the oven to 180C.
  • Remove your rolled-out dough from the fridge, peel off one of the layers of parchment paper and place that side down on your ovenproof dish and let it slump into the dish. Peel off the other piece of parchment paper and ease the dough into the dish and then trim around the edges. If the dough insists on tearing (which I found the potato pastry had a tendency to do), just patch it up with the pastry trimmings.
  • With a little knife, poke little slits in the base of the pastry for steam to escape, then line with some parchment paper or an old foil butter wrapper, filled with dried beans to weight it down.
  • Bake for about 10 minutes or so, until the crust starts to set and dull a bit. Remove from the oven and remove the baking beans and paper or foil.
  • Beat the eggs well and season with a little salt and black pepper and add the thyme leaves.
  • Fill the quiche with the onions, potatoes, crumbled goats cheese and pour over the beaten eggs.
  • Bake for around 30 minutes or until the eggs have set and the top is golden.
The Variations:
  • Steam the potato and cut into chunks instead of grating it raw or omit the potatoes completely and perhaps add a little more goats cheese.
The Results:
  • Quiche for 4 to 6 – more like 4 portions if you’re just having it along with a green salad for dinner and need to sample a lot of wine with it!

Quiche

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Potato Pastry

I have seen versions of this in various places, including Lindsay Bareham’s In Praise of the Potato. It’s recommended for use with savoury pies, like steak and kidney, so I thought I would give it a whirl with the quiche. I will say that, while it made for a nice crust, the pastry was tricky to handle and I did have to do a lot of patching.

You’ll need:
  • 175g plain flour
  • 115g cold unsalted butter
  • 175g cooled mashed potato
  • 0.25 tsp salt
The Steps:
  • Boil or steam your potatoes, allow them to cool and mash well. You can cook more than you need for this recipe because there are always plenty of other things to do with spuds.
  • Whisk the flour and salt together.
  • Cut the butter into cubes and then rub it into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs.
  • Add the mashed potato and bring the lot together as a dough, kneading lightly.
  • Chill for at least 15 minutes before using.
Comments
  • This curious quiche looks gorgeous! I always adore the combo of potatoes and goat cheese. And caramelized onions enhance it for sure. however, I’d prefer red wine with this tasty quiche as I love its sour taste with such tastes. It balances the taste on my tongue. Thanks for this great recipe!

  • I love quiches, fritattas etc and really apreciate your insight about frying the potatoes.

  • What fun, it sounds like an incredible time and especially when you can get senior management to reach consensus you know you are doing something right. The quiche looks divine. and the wines, well – just darn tasty

  • Yum! Lovely looking quiche. Goes well with a nice glass of wine and sunny afternoon. I should have had some of that as it was a nice day here in LA.

  • Your superior skill with the spud remains unsurpassed. I’d love to try making this quiche as given here but you mentioned that the dough was somewhat tricky to handle – what kind of problems did you run into? Because you know that a slight blip in technique for you is code red disaster in the kitchen for me. I need all the help I can get!

  • I just somehow cannot imagine the ‘fried ones’ every making it into this in my house…I have not made quiche in a while, so time for one!

  • Fabulously rich, I would say!!
    But you are quite a genious in cooking & baking!!
    Looks perfect!! Excellent quiche!!

  • zerrin: you’re welcome :) and you could certainly have red wine with this too – whatever combination works for you!

    savor: thanks – frying the grated potatoes was really a bit of an experiment – I guess it depends on whether you want obvious chunks of potato in there or whether you want to include potatoes “by stealth” :)

    OysterCulture: yes, indeed, gaining management consensus was quite the achievement!

    jenn: absolutely – quiche+salad+wine+sunshine=perfect

    Tangled Noodle: the dough was a bit soft, so it tore apart easily as I was fitting it into the dish – I’d say that using a little more flour and a little less mash would help with that

    Chef E: time for quiche indeed and I know that you would always put your own personal spin on it, I expect nothing less :)

    Sophie: ah thanks, not sure about being a genius (just potato-obsessed, lol) but you’re very kind to say so!

  • This is fantastic! I like the idea of the grated potatoes as opposed to chunks. I would enjoy the smoother texture. I just love the potato pastry crust. What a great use for leftover mashed spuds.

  • Wow, what a fitting dish for two of my favourite wines! Thanks for the fab recipe Spud, and for the kind words on the wine. Zerrin’s comments confirm what I’ve always thought – wine-matching is ultimately subjective. For me it often just depends on my mood as to whether I go for a red or a white, unless I’m eating something clearly designed for one or the other.
    After making the recommendations, I now need to get testing the match-up myself by making the quiche – it looks and sounds absolutely divine :)
    PS AWESOME photography, you’ve better pictures of the wine than we do!

  • Wow, I love the idea of a potato pastry! I can envision its use in all sorts of savory pie applications! Brilliant.

  • Still waiting for potato ice-cream Spud! ;)

  • I’ve never heard of potato pastry! I will have to give this a try. I love the tanginess of goat cheese paired with the the sweetness of the caramelized onions!

  • that is one spectacular looking quiche – I cant believe those words flew from my fingers – but they did I love quiche!

  • Lori: yep, just one of the many ways to use leftover mash :)

    mike: thanks for the link-up and for the wines, really enjoyed them – pity you’re at the other end of the country, otherwise you could have come over and had some of the quiche at source!

    megan: I’ll definitely be trying the potato pastry for other things I think

    Toasted Special: ice cream is it? well, I wouldn’t rule it out, so stay tuned :)

    alwaysroom4dessert: thanks for stopping by! – and I love the goats cheese + caramelised onions combination myself, it’s a bit of a classic

    doggybloggy: why thank you for those words, v. pleased that they flew in this direction!

  • ohhh. you lucky duck you! wines to try! they sound lovely :)

  • I don’t really have much to add other than this looks awesome! I haven’t had quiche that often in my life, but the next time I do, I will definitely have to use this recipe.

  • A potato quiche sounds really wonderful! I’ll be making some kind of a quiche too very soon and thinking a lot of French recipes – my daughter wants a French theme for her family birthday party this coming weekend!

  • Well this sounds like my kind of night. Potatoes and wine…wow, I’m in.

  • That’s awesome that you were asked to try some wine matches for your blog! Ah, the power of blogging! And your spud creation – the quiche, along with the potato pastry crust – sounds magnifique. I’m glad to have the names of both wines you tried, though I’m not sure I’ll be able to find them in Hawaii. Thanks to your recipe, though, the quiche is doable!

  • This looks wonderful! Tangled Noodle suggested it for my Mother’s Day Brunch round up that I’m doing. Would it be OK for me to post a link on my site to this recipe? If so, please stop by and leave me a note at:
    http://pioneervalleyma.blogspot.com/2009/05/mothers-day-brunch-ideas.html

    Thanks!
    ~ValleyWriter

  • Oooh delish!! Looks lovely. And the wine looks rather spiffing too!

  • Hi, DS! Surfacing from amidst the boxes to peek in for a moment. I would very much like a piece of that quiche, please. Thankyouverymuch. I like that you pre-cooked the potatoes to get some extra caramelized flavors. We used to put cut up leftover roasted fingerlings into quiches and fritattas at the restaurant. That worked well, too. Potatoes and eggs should hang out more often, I think:)

  • Heather: I know, lucky indeed :)

    Grilled Shane: thanks, I don’t make quiche that often and I should, really, because I do like them a lot myself

    Natasha: ooh la la, a French theme for your daughter’s party – can’t wait to hear what you come up with!

    noble pig: thought you would be :)

    Sapuche: ah thanks and I’m sure you’ll be able to locate some suitable alternatives for those wines somewhere in Hawaii!

    Valley Writer: delighted to participate in your roundup, great idea :)

    aoife mc: ’twas all lovely and so sorry to hear about your own quiche woes – thanks goodness M&S could come to the rescue!

    Jenni: hey there! yep – pre-roasting the spuds was my other option for this one and am absolutely agreed on the spuds+eggs thing – this quiche may be good but Spanish tortilla rocks my world…

  • Thanks for your tips and support over on the Quiche Drama, much appreciated. I think I’ll try Delia’s method this weekend. The butter in my mixture was definitely not that cold and was melting all over the gaffe so I think Delia’s method would help me out in that way.
    Thanks again!

  • [...] The Spud’s recipe is re-published below, with the original post and deluge of enthusiastic comments here. [...]

  • I love your word “Frenchified” ha ha! Wine is for drinking and enjoying. There is no prescription for what goes with what. Each person’s taste buds are different so if you enjoy a wine with a food, then it goes! It sounds like your mission to enjoy your wine is a good one.

  • Where do I apply for the CTO position?!

  • aoife mc: you’re welcome – always happy to help out in a quiche crisis!

    Joie de Vivre: well said – if it works for your taste buds, that’s the main thing :)

    gastroanthropologist: I think you just applied, lol! There’s a bit of a waiting list, though…

  • [...] debut was to see to it that they would be washed down with some proper Italian wines. Following our most enjoyable French excursion, the guys at Curious Wines were happy to oblige with recommendations and samples for same. Things [...]

  • [...] top food bloggers, Daily Spud has come back to give us another challenge. After the success of part one, we were delighted to get on board again, and with Spud’s curiosity over Italian potato [...]

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