Being able to make that joke each and every time I make this may in fact be the only reason I like leeks. It’s hard to dislike food that so easily lends itself to 12-year-old humor. In fairness to the leek, though, this is quite good even without the lame jokes. Leeks are milder and sweeter than onions, and are a great way to impart an onion-like flavor without the tears and inevitable halitosis. They also contain less of the sulfur compounds that make onions difficult for some people to digest, and thus make a good substitute for people who don’t tolerate them well. And that is why the leek shall inherit the earth.
Okay then. Now that I’ve indulged my insatiable need to pun, let’s move on. This quiche is a weeknight staple for us – although the total prep-and-cook time is close to an hour and a half, it’s easy and extremely satisfying. And I’m saying this as somebody who isn’t really a quiche person – my general rationale is along the lines of “if you’re going to throw a bunch of eggs together and call it dinner, why not make an omelet and save us all the hassle?” But this isn’t a quivering three-inch-high egg pile like some quiches. The rich flavors of the roasted mushrooms and leeks are the real stars here – the eggs just quietly hold it all together. Serve with a simple green salad and as many bad leek puns as you can think of.
Mushroom and Leek Quiche
1 pound mushrooms, quartered or diced (I use a combination of cremini, shiitake, and portabello)
1 bunch leeks, washed and sliced
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup half and half or milk
1.5 cups grated Gruyere or Swiss cheese (about 4 ounces)
2 Tbsp chopped fresh thyme (or 2 teaspoons dried)
1 9-inch pie crust
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400 F.
Combine mushrooms, leeks, salt, pepper, and olive oil in a large bowl and toss to combine, making sure everything is well coated with the oil. Spread on a baking sheet and roast for 15 minutes. Return to bowl and stir in cheese.
Prick pie shell with fork and prebake for 10-12 minutes or until slightly browned. Remove and lower oven temperature to 350 F.
Lightly beat eggs in a medium bowl. Add the half and half and thyme, and more salt and pepper to taste. Spread mushroom mixture into the pie pan in an even layer and pour half-and-half/egg mixture on top. Bake for 45-50 minutes, until lightly browned and a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.