When it comes to food and the important role that it plays in our lives, it is not surprising that some foods seem to form connections in our minds with events and special times. Bar-b-que and beer make most people think of outdoor get-togethers with family and friends, laughing and telling stories. Mexican food and beer… same. Football and hot wings. Hotdogs and baseball. And for many, quiche conjures up images of brunch… with mimosas… and ladies in hats.
No deer slayer in his right mind would be a part such a scenario. But throw some wild pork sausage into the mix, and his interest will be piqued. Suddenly quiche is transformed into a hearty and savory manly meat and egg pie. Perfect for a Father’s Day breakfast. It’s all in how you present it.
This recipe allowed me to use some of the 55 pounds of ground wild pork in my freezer. My experimentation with wild pork pan sausage began with maple pan sausage. Because I use my one-pound packages of ground pork for a number of recipes, I never know if I’ll want it for pan sausage, or to mix with venison for burgers, meatloaf, or lasagna, or some other new recipe. With that in mind, I season up my wild pork sausage one pound at a time as needed depending on whether I’m in the mood for maple, traditional with sage, or Italian sausage. That way, I’m never left with a freezer full of the wrong sausage for my recipe or mood.
I’ve had a great deal of luck with LEM brand:
I photographed the Sweet Italian variety (which is great) but for this recipe, I actually used the “regular” flavor, with some added rubbed sage.
Wild Pork and Mushroom Quiche
(Manly Meat and Egg Pie)
This recipe has 3 steps; preparing the sausage, preparing the crust (or use a prepared crust), and preparing the filling.
1 lb. coarsely ground wild pork (The quiche will only use about ½ of the cooked pork)
3 tsp. LEM brand sausage seasoning
1 tsp. dried sage
1 oz. water (about an 1/8 of a cup)
To start this recipe, I mixed up a batch of LEM brand traditional sausage seasoning with my ground wild pork. Although the instructions suggest 2 teaspoons from the seasoning packet, I found that 3 produced the intensity of flavor that I was looking for.
In a small glass bowl, I mixed the seasoning, 1 tsp. of dried, rubbed sage, and about an eighth of a cup of water.
I poured the mixture into the ground pork and worked it in with my hands until the seasonings were fully incorporated into the meat.
Then I cooked up the newly prepared sausage in a skillet and set aside.
Next, I prepared the crust using a recipe I got from The Lard Cookbook:
Preparing the crust:
1¼ cups all-purpose unbleached flour plus more for dusting
1 tsp. salt
½ cup cold and coursely chopped lard
3 tablespoons ice cold water
For the crust, combine the flour and salt in a bowl. Using a pastry blender, two butter knives, or your fingers, cut in the lard until the mixture is a very fine crumble, about the size of peas. Sprinkle the cold water over the mixture and combine just until the mixture sticks together..Form the dough into a ball and press into a disc. Wrap the ball in plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 30 minutes*.
*While the dough is chilling, prepare your filling
Prepare a work surface by sprinkling with flour, and roll out into a disc that will fit your pie plate. I always lay a sheet of plastic wrap over the dough as I roll it out. It gives me more control and allows me to lift the dough more easily into the dish and press it into place without tearing the crust.
Trim excess from around the edges and place in the fridge until you are ready to add filling.
Preparing the filling:
- a glug of olive oil ( about 1 tbsp.)
- 2 tbsp. butter
- ½ large onion, chopped
- 8 oz. sliced mushrooms
- seasoned salt, a scant amount to taste (I use Tommy’s Salt & Pepper mix)
- about ½ lb. prepared, crumbled, and cooked wild pork sausage
- 6 eggs, beaten
- ½ cup half & half
- 1 cup grated cheese (Any good gratable cheese will do, according to your preference)
Heat olive oil and butter in a cast iron skillet. Add chopped onion and mushrooms and a sprinkling of seasoned salt. Use sparingly since the sausage is quite flavorful. Stir ingredients around until onions are almost caramelized.
Spread onion and mushroom mixture over the bottom of the prepared crust.
This photo is actually from a previous cooking session. The sausage is under the mushroom/onion mixture which is why the quiche is soooo full.
Sprinkle cooked sausage over that. There will be sausage left over. That’s okay! Use any extra in breakfast burritos!
Combine eggs, half & half, and grated cheese. Beat with a fork.
Pour over other ingredients until full.
Place quiche on a cookie sheet and put in a 350° oven for 25-35 minutes or until set and browned on top.
Allow to cool for 15 minutes before cutting.
Happy Father’s Day, Deerslayers!