Use Mexican street corn seasonings & cotija cheese to make this flavorful Chicken & Broccoli Quiche Tart. Spice up brunch, lunch, or dinner!
When is it ok to have pie at brunch?
Ok, that's a trick question...it's always ok to have pie at brunch. But it's more acceptable if that pie is savory, like a quiche.
Now quiche can have a crust or be crustless (especially if you're following a gluten-free diet), but it's got to have that egg custard that binds all those yummy fillings. And those fillings are a great way to use leftover meats and vegetables.
For example, I had some cooked chicken in the fridge, and lots of broccoli. Plus an interesting Elote seasoning in my pantry (I'll explain what this is below). And since this is a savory quiche, why not use some sourdough starter discard as well?
Ok, looks like I'm making a Mexican Chicken and Broccoli Quiche Tart.
Quiche is a savory custard
At its core, quiche is just a free-standing egg custard. The crust is merely a holding vessel.
Most people might think of egg custard as a dessert, but really the only difference is how the custard is flavored. Is it sweetened or filled with savory ingredients?
If it's the latter, it's quiche, simple as that.
Just as a refresher, a free-standing egg custard has a recipe ratio of 2 to 1 liquid to egg by weight (a kitchen scale comes in handy here). So a quiche containing 2 cups (or 16 oz) of a milk and cream mix would have 4 eggs (or 8 oz, an egg weighing about 2 oz apiece).
Oh, and that cream mixture? You can decide how much milk vs. cream you'd like. The more cream, the richer the custard will be.
You can even use a milk-substitute if you'd prefer. It's the combination of liquid and eggs that make a custard, not that it has to be dairy. Case in point, the Double Dark Chocolate Pudding I made using almond milk.
I keep saying free-standing custard which can hold its shape, like flan. It's a cousin to pastry cream, which contains the same base of eggs and cream but having a 4 to 1 liquid to egg ratio, so it can't stand up on its own.
Also, a free-standing custard is baked to set rather than thickened on the stove with cornstarch. I love when things are related like that.
The difference is the fillings & flavorings
So if savory custard makes it a quiche, how do they differ from one another?
That's where the fillings and flavorings become important. And choosing seasonings and cheeses that complement each other.
For my Mexican Chicken and Broccoli Quiche Tart, I started with the flavors of Mexican street corn, then chose appropriate cheeses.
Usually street corn is served with cotija cheese, a semi-firm white crumbly cheese, like feta cheese in texture. I added a Mexican cheese blend (a pre-made blend of shredded cheddar, Monterey Jack, and Queso Blanco) to round out the quiche. You can use your own preferred combinations.
For the street corn flavors, I used Trader Joes' Everything but the Elote seasoning blend. It's made up of chile pepper, Parmesan cheese, chipotle powder, cumin, dried cilantro, sea salt, plus some cane sugar and corn flour.
You can substitute a good chili powder or taco seasonings if you prefer.
Making a quiche tart
Most quiches come together in four easy steps.
Step 1: Choose your crust
Step 2: Choose your mix-ins
Start by cooking any desired vegetables, which brings body and texture to the dish. Add a cooked protein, like bacon, sausage, or cooked chicken, which elevates the quiche to something substantial.
Step 3: Make the custard
Making sure the custard has some bubbles helps to hold the mix-ins in suspension. That's especially important in a taller quiche or quiche made in a pie pan.
This quiche tart isn't that tall so the suspension aspect isn't as crucial.
Step 4: Assemble the quiche
The crust is there to protect the custard from baking too quickly and getting rubbery (like the job of a water bath). It's best to blind bake the pastry shell so it doesn't get soggy while the custard bakes.
Adding the filling components in layers helps to keep everything from just settling to the bottom, especially for taller quiches.
Here I first added the mix-ins, then the cheese and custard, being careful not to overfill the pan. It did spill over just a tad on one side. Oh well.
Pie for brunch, lunch, or dinner
Spicy (but not too much), salty, and substantial, this Mexican Chicken Quiche recipe produces a dish with lots of flavor.
It's perfect for brunch or lunch, and certainly for dinner when paired with a Caesar salad (with homemade Caesar salad dressing, of course!).
Of course, save room for pie for dessert!
Slainté! L’chaim! Cheers!
Recipes using custard
Custards come in many forms, but the method is similar across the board. Luckily, the technique is easy to master, and you'll be able to make a whole range of treats!
Mexican Chicken & Broccoli Quiche Tart
For the pastry
- 1 recipe sourdough shortcrust pastry
For the filling
- 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- ½ cup red onion, diced
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- 1 cup broccoli
- 1 cup chicken, cooked and cubed
- 1 cup cotija cheese, crumbled, see Recipe Notes
- 1 cup mexican cheese blend, shredded, see Recipe Notes
For the custard
- 4 large eggs
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup milk, or milk substitute
- 2 tsp Everything but the Elote seasoning blend, or your Mexican seasonings of choice, see Recipe Notes
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- Heat the oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the red onions and sprinkle with ½ tsp salt. Cook the onions until softened, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the broccoli and sauté 2 to 3 minutes.
- Add the chicken and cook until heated, another 2 to 3 mixtures. Remove from heat.
- Fill the shortcrust pastry shell with the cooked chicken filling. Sprinkle the cheeses on top.
- Mix the custard ingredients together until frothy, either by hand or using a hand mixer. Pour the custard over the filling as much as you can without overflowing.
- Allow the quiche to cool slightly, then remove from the pan and serve warm.