For some reason I decided to make a quiche. I haven't made one in literally ages and I don't really have a reason for it. But I was considering what to make for dinners this week and up popped "quiche" in my head. Well, it seemed like a good idea - particularly if I got some ready made pastry, that would make it a lot easier. So I did. You can make your own pastry if you wish - feel free! On a good day, so would I.
I already had some finely sliced chorizo in the freezer, left over from a paella. The idea of some good, mature cheddar with chorizo seemed to have merit. Ultimately, I also added some char-grilled red pepper - just a little bit - and a handful of chopped fresh parsley. I also had a rush of blood to the head and added a teaspoonful of vegetable stock powder (bouillon, in other words) and I'm glad I did. It didn't make a huge difference to the flavours, but it just savouried (is that a word?) everything up nicely.
The big difference with this quiche is that I took it upon myself to use sour cream. I figured that the slight sourness of the cream would work well with the rich cheese and smokeyness of the paprika in the chorizo and so it did.
I think this is one of the best quiches I've made in a very long time. I wasn't sure how it would all work out, but it worked out perfectly. Definitely a "do-again" quiche.
I have two Cook's Tips for you - firstly, there is no failure to using shop bought, ready rolled pastry. It's quick, it's so simple to use and these days there are some really lovely tasting ones out there. I got mine from Asda and it's perfectly acceptable.
Secondly, don't be tempted to skip the part-baking of the pastry case. It really does help to eliminate those soggy bottoms that can make quiche eating something of a trial. All you need is some greaseproof paper and a pot of ceramic baking beans (or a quantity of dried beans - my Mum used hers for years and her pastry had an unmistakeable nuttiness because of them). It only adds 20 minutes to the baking time and in that time you can be making the filling. As the Nike ad. says, "just do it!".
Anyway, to the recipe!
CHEDDAR AND CHORIZO QUICHE (serves 4-6)
Approx. 300g shortcrust pastry (sufficient for an 8" flan dish, approx. 1" deep)
4 large eggs
250ml soured cream
a good pinch of ground black pepper
1 tsp vegetable stock powder (or vegetable bouillon powder)
40g finely sliced chorizo, sliced into small ribbons
50g mature cheddar cheese, grated
1 tbsp char-grilled red pepper (from a jar), rinsed and sliced small
1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped fine.
Your first job is to part-bake the pastry case. So, pre-heat your oven to 180degC/350degF/Gas 4. Then, cut a square of pastry that is significantly bigger than the baking dish or tin you will be using and gently sink it into the tin, making sure there are no bubbles under the pastry and it is pressed gently into the corners. Trim off the excess with a sharp knife.
Cut a piece of greaseproof paper that is correspondingly bigger than the baking tin and crumple it up as though you're going to throw it away, then smooth it out again. You'll find when it comes to laying it over the pastry, it will fit better now! Lay it over the pastry and lightly smooth it across the base. Pour in your baking beans in an even layer.
Place the tin centrally into the oven and bake for 20 minutes. You can use this time to make the filling.
Break each of the eggs into a cup and pour them into a large bowl. Doing this ensures that if one of your eggs is off or even slightly dodgy, you don't lose the lot! Add the soured cream, black pepper and stock powder and give everything a good whisk to combine. Add the chorizo ribbons, grated cheese, red pepper and parsley and stir until everything is combined.
Remove the pastry case from the oven and gently lift out the baking beans by holding the greaseproof paper. Set the baking beans aside to cool down.
Using a slotted spoon, spoon the solids from the mixture into the pastry case and distribute them around evenly. Pour the leftover liquid into the pastry case. You may find that you have slightly more than will go in - and better to do it this way around than find your quiche is full of egg mixture and there's no room for the chorizo!
Gently place the quiche into the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes, until the filling has risen, turned golden and feels fairly firm when pressed.
Remove from the oven and place onto a cooling rack for 5-10 minutes. If your tin is a loose-bottomed one, you can now remove the quiche from the tin and place it back onto the cooling rack. Serve whilst still a little warm with a crunchy garden salad.