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Sunday, 15 November 2009

Leek & Bacon Gratin (or just Leek Gratin)

This is a favourite 'throw it all together' dish of mine, and I have had to concentrate to work out the quantities so that I can share it with you !

You can make it with bacon or without, so it is great for both carnivores or vegetarians... everyone's happy !

I often make it as a main meal as I am a leek freak, but it also makes a great vegetable side dish for a roast dinner or any main meal really.

Leek and Bacon Gratin / Leek Gratin

4 large Leeks (and I mean large - if not huge then use a lot more to make up - the leeks are important!)
10 slices unsmoked Back Bacon (rashers in Ireland and bacon in the UK - I haven't a clue what you call it in the states)
4 ozs (1 cup) grated Cheddar Cheese
1/2 pint (1.25 cups) Milk
1 Egg (beaten)
1/4 pint (150ml or 2/3 cup) single Cream (light or pouring cream)
1 tablespoon English Mustard (ready made)
Sea Salt & fresh ground Black Pepper

1. Chop the leeks into good sized pieces, about an inch each roughly.

2. Poach the leeks in the milk with salt and pepper to taste (place both in a pan, boil and then simmer for 15 minutes).

3. Remove the leeks from the liquid (but keep the milk for later). Put the leeks in a shallow oven proof dish (a lasagne style dish is perfect). Make sure the dish is well buttered.

4. Miss this bit out if you are vegetarian. Slice the bacon into strips and fry gently until the fat runs out of them. Once that has happened, fry on a hotter heat until they are nice and crispy.

5. Place the bacon strips on top of the cooked leeks and mix in a bit.

6. In a bowl, beat together the egg, the single cream and the mustard.

7. Add the beaten mixture to the left over milk in the saucepan, and mix in well.

8. Heat this gently. DO NOT let it boil please. Just let it thicken a bit.

9. Pour this sauce over the leeks.

10. Sprinkle the grated cheese evenly over the top. (If you have one) slice a fresh tomato and lie the slices over the top to decorate.

11. Place in the oven at 180c for about 20 minutes, or until the top starts to colour. Alternatively for more speed, you can just brown it under a grill.

As a variation you can sprinkle fresh ground nutmeg on the top before putting it in the oven.

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