leek and mushroom quiche

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I don’t think there’s anything more perfect than quiche. It’s set up to be delicious (butter + eggs + cheese + cream/milk + sautéed veggies = a very special kind of happiness), and the best part is that it’s relatively pretty easy to pull together.

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This quiche is simple but serious: leeks simmered with butter and water until they begin to disintegrate into a delicious melty mass, magically taking on flavors far beyond their constituent parts. Mushrooms sautéed in butter and a bit of port (or wine, if you’re like me and won’t go out and buy a whole bottle of something you’ll only use a tiny bit of). A bath of eggs and cream (or milk, if you’re trying to cut down on richness, but really, why?). And to top it all off, a lovely crust of melted, oven-browned cheese to greet you as you take the quiche out of the oven.

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Just look at it. Humble in its ingredients and resplendent in its final form.

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leek and mushroom quiche
adapted from Smitten Kitchen’s Leek and mushroom quiche, which was adapted from Julia Child, Mastering the Art of French Cooking

The main thing I did differently was nix the paté brisée and go straight for Smitten Kitchen’s all-butter, really flaky pie dough, omitting the sugar and adding bit more salt. In my opinion, in the end it’s all a flour, butter, salt, and water combination, and it’s good to stick to recipes that work. Also, I didn’t par bake the crust because it’s just so time consuming, and I don’t think I’ve ever been able to tell the difference between a par baked crust and a not par baked crust anyway. Also, I used whole wheat in this crust as per my brother’s request.

Another thing I did differently was use wine instead of port when sautéing the mushrooms because I’m living on a stipend. The last thing I did differently was leave out the butter topping mostly because I forgot, but also (I retroactively discovered) Smitten Kitchen mentions that the butter leaves a slightly unappealing greasy top layer. Nobody needs an unappealing greasy top layer, so I nixed that too.

1/2 all-butter, really flaky pie dough recipe, omitting the sugar and adding 1/2 teaspoon more salt. You can even add a little more – it’ll taste great.

3 to 4 leeks, white part only, sliced
1/2 cup water
Salt
5 to 6 large white mushrooms, sliced (or portobello, or any basic mushroom you can find)
1 tablespoon port (or wine, if that’s what you have on hand)
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups whipping cream (I used whole milk)
1/4 cup grated Swiss cheese (I used Emmental, which is indeed Swiss, though you can use any other kind of Swiss cheese)

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F / 190 degrees C.

2. Boil the leeks over moderately high heat in a heavy-bottomed, covered saucepan with 1/2 cup water, two tablespoons butter and a teaspoon of salt until the liquid has almost evaporated. Lower heat and stew gently for 20 to 30 minutes until leeks are very tender. When done, put them aside in a bowl, but not before tasting the miracle that is leeks sautéed in butter and water.

3. Add a tablespoon of butter to the same saucepan (or to another saucepan while the leeks are cooking, if you’re impatient like me). Add the sliced mushrooms, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and port or wine. Cover the pan and cook over moderately low heat for about 8 minutes. Uncover and raise the heat, bringing the mushrooms to a boil for several minutes until all the liquid is evaporated and the mushrooms begin to sauté. Stir the cooked mushrooms into the cooked leek mixture.

4. Roll out your quiche crust and lay into pie tin. Set aside.

5. Beat the eggs, cream or milk, and seasoning in a large bowl until well-combined. Stir in the leek and mushroom mixture. Check seasoning. Pour into pastry shell and tuck in pastry edges. Sprinkle the Swiss cheese over the top. Bake in the upper third of the pre-heated oven for 25 to 30 minutes until puffed and brown and glorious.

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