As fall falls and we dress up in bulky sweaters once more, warm savoury treats gain traction in our kitchens.
I love this recipe as it’s simple, fast (about 20 minutes to prep then another 30-35 to bake), and the ingredients are usually at hand. The flavours are rich and complex. Mostly we think of creme brulee as a sensational dessert. Baked in the same kind of ramekin as its sweet cousin, the savoury brulee variety, is rather like a personal feta, spinach and chicken quiche without the pastry. But better.
Cream and cheese simultaneously ramp up the calories and the wow factor, but a small ramekin is quite filling. Team a serving with a big plate filled with fresh vegetables, and it makes for a somewhat decadent, but not entirely unhealthy meal. I love this dish for entertaining, as it can all be prepped and then the brulee put into the oven as guests are nibbling appetizers.
Greek Chicken Feta Creme Brulee
1 chicken breast or 1 cup chicken, cut in 1/2 inch cubes
2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1 leek, thinly sliced or 1/2 cup chopped red onion
1 tbsp olive oil
8 oz fresh baby spinach, washed
3 large egg yolks
1 and 1/2 cup half and half or whipping cream
3 oz feta cheese, crumbled (or substitute grated asiago)
1 tbsp minced fresh or 3/4 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp fresh or 1/2 tsp dried rosemary
1/2 tsp salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 cup sourdough or multigrain bread cut into 1″ cubes
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
24 tsp parmesan cheese for topping
Lightly oil 8 1/2 cup or 6 3/4 cup ramekins or flan dishes.Preheat oven to 300 F.
Saute garlic and leek or onion in olive oil for a few minutes. Add the chicken. If the chicken is already cooked, stir briefly; if the chicken is uncooked, saute with garlic and onion till its cooked. Add spinach for just a moment till wilted. Remove mixture from the heat.
Whisk egg yolks till pale yellow, then add cream, salt, oregano and rosemary. Combine chicken mixture with egg mixture. Toss the bread cubes with olive oil. Ladle the brulee concoction into the ramekins, top with bread cubes and finally, a couple of tsp of parmesan cheese. Add a rosemary sprig to the top of each ramekin.
Bake filled ramekins in a baking dish and pour hot water into dish till halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake for 30 – 35 minutes or until the custard is set, but still jiggly in the middle.
Variation: Leave out the chicken for a vegetarian version. Instead substitute 3 roma tomatoes, seeded and cut in 1 inch chunks. Add tomato to the leek and garlic, then wilt the spinach as above. Or — add the seeded Roma tomatoes to the chicken recipe.