Wild Edible Greens: Chickweed Pie

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This heirloom recipe for Chickweed Pie, a Pennsylvania Dutch country version of quiche, makes a delicious lunch or light supper dish.

The recipe for this delicious lunch pie, an old Pennsylvania Dutch recipe for quiche, had never been written down until I convinced an elderly cousin of mine to work through it so I could weigh and measure the ingredients. Chickweed Pie is best hot; it will keep one to two days in the refrigerator and can be reheated in a microwave oven. MAKES 6 TO 8 SERVINGS

• One 10-inch pie crust
• 3 cups chopped chickweed (Stellaria media)
• 1 cup diced slab bacon
• 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
• 3 large eggs
• 1 1/2 cups sour cream
• 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
• 1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a 10-inch pie dish with crust and make a raised border around the rim to prevent filling from overflowing during baking.

2. To prepare chickweed, remove all leaves, twigs and root ends, reserving only the greenest, leafiest parts. Rinse thoroughly in a colander and gently dry with paper towels. Bunch the chickweed together into a ball and chop it with a sharp knife until reduced to a confetti texture. Measure, then put chickweed in a large bowl.

3. Fry diced bacon in a skillet until it begins to brown, then add onion. Cook about 3 minutes, or until onion wilts. Using a slotted spoon, transfer bacon and onions to bowl with chickweed. Discard drippings from pan.

4. In a separate bowl, beat eggs until lemon colored, then add sour cream, flour and nutmeg. Add egg mixture to chickweed, onions and bacon. Spread filling evenly in the pie shell and pat down firmly with a spoon. Bake 45 to 50 minutes, or until pie has set in center and top looks golden. –Adapted from Pennsylvania Dutch Country Cooking by William Woys Weaver (Abbeville Press, 1993).

William Woys Weaver is a food historian, author and contributing editor for Mother Earth News and Gourmet magazines. He gardens, cooks and writes from his home in southeastern Pennsylvania.

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