Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Best Comfort Food - For The Love of Leeks

I love Leeks. This isn't exactly Jacques Pepin's recipe but he inspired me to make this.
Leek Gratin (a Traditional French Dish) is braised Leeks, covered with Cheese sauceTopped with Breadcrumbs and grated cheese
Baked till bubbly

I decided to top with mashed potatoes
Give it the New Zealand touch!
This makes it a real filling meal

You can make this Gluten free by substituting flour with cornflour
As simple as that
Leeks were cheap at the Supermarket this week.
I was thrilled, they are so delicious. So sweet and such a pretty colour

Normally I slice them and saute them in a little butter or oil
Season with salt and pepper then add about 100 mls water
Just enough to steam them
Cover and cook for about 5 8 minutes till they are just tender

Great base for a Fish Pie also to have as an accompaniment to your favourite protein

But this recipe is Braised Leeks
Smothered with a Cheese Sauce
Topped with Creamy Mashed Potatoes
I don't make a puree...just normal old mashed potatoes suits me

Baked and served when bubbling and golden brown
 For 3 greedy people

2 leeks with hard green leaves removed

For the Roux
4 tablespoons butter 
4 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon mustard, I used Dijon
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups milk, warmed
2 bay leaves

3/4 Cup Grated cheese. 
I used Gruyere which is a traditional cheese for Bechamel Sauce

Extra butter or Olive oil Spray

3 large potatoes peeled and cubed
Butter 
Hot Milk
Cook the potatoes, till tender
Drain
Add the hot milk
Mash
Add cold butter and beat till it reaches the consistency that suits you

Clean the leeks and cut into pieces
Place into a pan with the bottom just covered with salted water
Lay the leeks in one layer
Bring to boil and simmer covered, for about 10 minutes
Till leeks are just tender.
Drain, reserve the liquor for the sauce
There won't be a lot
Place into a gratin dish

 Meanwhile make your Bechamel Sauce
First make your Roux

Melt butter
Add flour
Stir well and cook out the flour taste, about 3-4 minutes
Season with Salt, pepper and mustard
Meanwhile warm the milk with the bay leaf
Add to roux
Stir briskly and then use whisk to make sure there are no lumps
Add the cooking liquor
Bring slowly back to boil and cook for about 5 minutes
Add grated cheese 
Taste
Adjust seasoning if necessary
Pour over leeks
Spoon the mashed potatoes over the top
Spread around, and then fork it
This gives nice peaks to make brown crispy bits
Either dot with some extra butter. or as I did spray with an olive oil spray
Bake in 180C oven for about 30 minutes till brown on top and bubbling
Guaranteed to delight

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