A few weeks ago I received an email from Challenge Dairy, a dairy company here in the West, asking if I would be interested in participating in a holiday recipe showdown. The deal was that Challenge Dairy would send me some free goodies and I would then use those goodies to create a recipe using Challenge Butter in a category they would choose for me. I figured it would be stupid to say no to free butter! As Julia Child said, “With enough butter, anything is good.” Besides, I’m never one to back down from a recipe challenge!
When my Challenge Dairy package arrived in the mail I learned that my challenge was to create a holiday appetizer recipe. I began thinking about a way to showcase butter in an appetizer. One of the items included in the package was a jar of ground chipotle chile. The spice bottled triggered an idea to make chipotle pork quichelettes, so I used the coupons also included in the package to go to the grocery store and pick up a box of Challenge Butter.
I used the butter to make a SUPER EASY soft pastry dough. I’m serious–EASY. I’ll show you. All you do is mix together some flour, egg, salt, and lots of butter together in a bowl until it makes a dough that you can form into a ball.
Then, on a floured work surface, you roll that ball of dough out into a log,
and cut the log into 20 pieces (I cut the log in half, then cut those halves into halves, and so on).
Still with me? Then you roll each piece into a ball and flatten the ball in between your hands.
Then you just press it into the well of a regular sized muffin tin and use your fingers to press the dough up the sides a bit.
That’s it!! No worrying about cutting in any ingredients or about your butter not being cold enough–you START with softened butter!
Ok, once you’ve prepared all of your quichelette crusts, it’s time to make the filling. This is even easier. Just fry up some ground pork in a skillet and season it with some salt and ground chipotle chile. Then you sprinkle the pork, along with some finely shredded cheddar cheese and minced chives into the quichelette crusts.
Then you beat some salt, eggs, and half-and-half together in a bowl and then slowly pour a bit of it into each quichelette until it reaches the top of the crust.
I like to pour the mixture into a liquid measuring cup so that it’s easier to pour into the quichelettes.
Now just stick ’em in the oven until they’ve started to brown and they’re DONE!!
The butter really is the star in these quichelettes. It’s important to use a butter that you love the flavor of, because it makes all the difference in the crust. The butter makes the quichelette crust buttery and flaky so that it melts in your mouth. The quiche filling has a wonderful smoky flavor with just a bit of a kick from the ground chipotle chili. These quichelettes are so good that you may just want to skip the meal altogether and fill up on appetizers!
Chipotle Pork Quichelettes
Makes 20 quichelettes
For the Tart Crust:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
11 tablespoons (5.5 ounces) butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon salt
For the Filling:
6 ounces lean ground pork
1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon ground chipotle chili
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1/2 cup finely shredded cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon minced chives
1 cup half-and-half cream
1. For the Tart Crust: In a large mixing bowl, mix together the flour, butter, egg, and salt together with a wooden spoon, or with a hand mixer on the lowest speed. Mix until the dough comes together into a cohesive mixture, rather than lots of individual lumps, and can be formed into a ball.
2. Grease the wells of a regular size muffin tin . You will need 20 separate muffin wells, so it will take multiple tins. On a floured work surface, roll the dough out into a log about 15 inches long. Cut the log into 20 equally sized pieces. Roll each piece of dough into a ball and then flatten it slightly with your palms. Place the dough into a greased muffin tin and use your fingers to press the dough out and up the sides of the muffin well to shape the sides.
3. For the Filling: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. In a skillet, cook the ground pork over medium heat until no longer pink. While it is cooking, season it with the ground chipotle chile and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt.
4. Sprinkle the sausage, cheddar cheese and chives into the tart shells. In a bowl, beat the eggs, cream, and remaining salt together until combined. Pour the mixture into the quichelette crusts until it reaches the top edge of the crusts.
5. Bake the quichelettes for 26-28 minutes or until slightly browned. Let them cool for about 10 minutes and then very gently lift them out with a butter knife and serve warm.
**Challenge Dairy is running a sweepstakes for a chance to win a 7 day/6 night vacation to the Mountain Sky Guest Ranch (ooooh, pick me! pick me!) in Montana’s Paradise Valley, just North of Yellowstone National Park. They’re also giving away a big kitchen package from OXO and Spice Islands worth $850 to one lucky first place winner. Go and enter the Sweepstakes! Also, if you write a post about the sweepstakes, you can submit the link to ChallengeButter@gmail.com and be entered into the drawing.