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    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
    Hot Milk
    Cook the potatoes, till tender
    Add the hot milk
    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 
    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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