The good thing about quiche is that there are so many different variations of filling. Yes, there's the good old bacon & cheese that always gets the thumbs up, but really you can put just about anything into a quiche so long as it's not wet, or will cook wetly. (Courgette, I'm looking at you here).
In this instance, I was looking for something that would provide a man-pleasing filling. Now my hubby has always loved Lincolnshire sausages, whereas I have been rather less than complimentary about them. It's not as though I actively dislike them, it's just that there are other types of sausage that I find more appealing. Stop giggling at the back! I did think, though, that their herby character would go nicely in a quiche and tomato seemed a natural bedfellow for them. Of course, it just isn't quiche if it doesn't have some cheese in and/or on it, so some mature cheddar was a given. Now our son has a serious dislike of cooked tomato (he picks the tomato off the top of his quiche, strange child), which is where the sun dried tomato comes in. Perfect.
The filling made up to be a good, deep fill with lots of character and substance, just what I was after. You could certainly feed a crowd with this one, as mine very nicely cut into six decent sized portions, served with salad and chips for the menfolk. I now have half a quiche (three portions) which should keep the wolf from the door for us all at lunchtime tomorrow, as well.
Oh and incidentally, as a means of making six sausages go adequately around three people, you can't beat it!
LINCOLNSHIRE SAUSAGE & SUN DRIED TOMATO QUICHE (serves 6)
400g Lincolnshire sausages, removed from their skins
approx. 300g shortcrust pastry (sufficient for an 8" sandwich or flan dish, approx. 1" deep)
3 extra large eggs
150ml soured cream
a half tsp of ground black pepper
a quarter tsp of sea salt
70g mature cheddar cheese, grated
6 pieces of sun-dried tomato (I used the ones in oil), sliced
1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped fine
1 medium tomato, sliced finely into 5 slices.
Your first job is to cook the sausages. Pre-heat your oven to 180degC/350degF/Gas 4. Remove the sausage skins and pinch off small pieces of sausage meat, forming them into balls. 1 sausage will make around 5 balls. Place onto a foil-lined tray and give them a light coat of cooking spray. Place into the middle of your oven for around 20 minutes until cooked through and just beginning to brown. Once cooked, set aside to cool a little.
Next, you need to part-bake the pastry case. If you are using pre-rolled pastry, keep it on the baking paper and roll it out a little bit thinner than it arrives. Cut a piece that is significantly bigger than the baking dish or tin you will be using. Keeping the pastry on the baking paper, gently sink it into the tin making sure there are no bubbles under the pastry and it is pressed gently into the corners. Carefully remove the baking paper and trim off the majority of the excess with a sharp knife, but leave a decent overhang to cope with any shrinkage.
Replace the baking paper and lightly smooth it across the base. Pour in your baking beans in an even layer and place the tin centrally into the oven 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 and whisk together. Next, add the black pepper, sea salt, two thirds of the grated cheese and the 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.
Tip the sausage balls into the pastry case and sprinkle over the pieces of sun dried tomato. Pour in the egg/cream mixture and sprinkle over the remaining grated cheese. Add the five tomato slices in an attractive pattern.
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 in the middle.
Remove from the oven and place onto a cooling rack for 5-10 minutes. You can now trim back the overhanging spare pastry and if you are using a loose bottomed tin, remove the quiche from the tin and place it back onto the cooling rack. Serve whilst still a little warm or at room temperature, with a crunchy garden salad.