Eggs, milk or fresh cream inside a dough that is baked open. These are the basic ingredients of quiche, the name of which derives from the German “kuchen” that means “cake”.
A descendant of medieval tarte (notable examples are: tart in Ember Day without meat and Tart de Bry -with brie cheese) and the historians place the modern recipe in today’s French Lorraine, a region that during the Middle Ages was a German kingdom, named Lothringen. The preparation of this open pie started in Nancy, the historic capital of Lorraine, during the 16th century, initially with dough (like bread), eggs, cream and smoked bacon, which was served warm as an appetizer, hence the famous Quiche Lorraine. Τhen, various ingredients (vegetables, cheese, meat, sausages, herbs, fish) were added in quiche, which is now considered a classic main dish of the French Cuisine, or even stolen from the German, since the latter hasn’t been able to regain it for centuries.
“Just in the beginning of the 19th century, quiche became a contemporary term and since then it is used to describe a tart with an egg and cream filling…” (Oxford Companion to Food, Alan Davidson, 1999). America first tries Quiche Lorraine in 1931, but it is only in the ‘70s when the frenzies begin. In the end of 20th century, creative cuisine knows no limits, same happens with quiche which enjoys multiple versions.
Quiche with lentils, Gruyere and Vin Santo sauce recipe here, is a bit alternative and for its category, gourmet. Lentils are the basic ingredient, a humble legume that not only directs the taste but transforms to a prima donna. You can of course replace them with another legume, beans, preferably the small, white ones or even chickpeas. The tart will become equally tasty – guaranteed. It is also a recipe which helps you make the most out of your materials (there can always be 1-1.5 cups of cooked lentils left) and as such, it provides flexibility in tasty reconstruction. Therefore, nothing goes to waste, on the contrary, creativity has the leading part.
If you make it once, it will stay in the category “impressive recipes with spare materials” and you will only need the basic ingredients (puff pastry, eggs, fresh cream or milk) and your fantasy. With a little inspiration and some subtractions, you can create the idea with minimum ingredients. Particularly important in the whole legumes combination is the presence of gruyere. Whatever experiment you make, do not exclude a cheese like this.
This quiche with lentils and gruyere is the version which, with or without a meat, is loved by everyone. My personal favorite combines both lentils (or chickpeas) with spicy sausage. Ι think Vin Santo sauce is a must in the recipe and a trump as it gives this different delicious touch. Just a little bit sweet and aromatic at the same time, it creates the unexpected that completes it. Do not skip it especially when you need only 5 minutes for the making.
Finally, individual baking cupshold certain cuteness – like petit things always do! This round autonomy in the dish and the table adds a natural, unpretentious elegance.
It is a nice version and the only extra work you’ll have will be to spread the puff pastry in the form.
Visually, the result is beyond competition – highly recommended.
quiche with lentils, Gruyere and Vin Santo sauce
Preparation: 10-15 minutes and 45-50 for the baking. Make the sauce while the quiche is baking. If you put it in individual baking cups, check baking at 35 minutes approximately. Do not throw away the remaining puff pastry. Gather the pieces to make sticks with herbs (I’m writing the world’s simplest recipe as we speak). An easy and relatively quick recipe.
Ingredients (for 8-10 pieces in a pie pan of 28-30 cm diameter or 10 individual baking cups)
250-300 g. cooked lentils (no fluids)
1 puff pastry sheet (1 ½ , if you use baking cups)
350 ml milk
100 g chopped chives and some extra leaves for the garnish
180 g Gruyere in small cubes (about 1 cm)
120 g cooked meat or chicken breast or sausage into small cubes (optional)
for the sauce
2 tbsps olive oil
1 garlic clove
1 bay leaf
1/2 medium sized finely chopped onion.
180 ml Vin Santo wine
Preheat the oven in 180 C.
To prepare the quiche: Beat the eggs, add milk, lentils, salt and pepper and stir.
Place the puff pastry in the base of the pie pan and use a knife to cut the extra puff pastry. Fill with the chopped chives, the gruyere (and the chicken/meat/sausage, if you include it). Add the lentils in the mixture and bake in the preheated oven for 45-50 minutes.
To make the sauce: In a frying pan and medium temperature pour olive oil and add garlic and bay leaf. Once it’s warm (not smoking) put onion and sauté for 2-2.5 minutes until it has softened, without getting brown. Add Vin Santo, increase the temperature a bit and cook for 2-3 minutes until the ⅓ of the liquid has evaporated. Put salt, pepper and remove. Leave it for 5 minutes to cool, throw away the garlic and bay leaf and transfer the rest in a blender. Beat it for 1 minute until you have a fluid sauce. Drain the sauce through a strainer pressing with the back of a spoon to get the largest possible amount. Taste and correct salt and pepper, if necessary.
Το serve: Cut the quiche with lentils in triangles. Put one in each plate and decorate with chive leaves. Add a big spoon of sauce and a fine line of raw extra virgin olive oil. Accompany with some fresh, green salad.