Low Cost And Easy
This is a seriously delicious, low cost and easy one pot meal to make. Just 5 minutes to prepare and it goes in the oven. It make a good mid week supper or a lazy Saturday afternoon tea. Leeks and potatoes just have an affinity with each other that is hard to beat. It is also why leek and potato soup is such a winner, too. Then add cheese and it is nourishing comfort food. Ham can be added as an optional extra too.
Easy to prepare, delicious and very low cost at around £3 to feed a family of four, this is the perfect winter time, midweek supper!
Leeks are in season from autumn through to spring, so this is a dish that you can have anytime in the winter.
Its total cost is around £3 for a meal for four! Easy, low cost and very delicious! It does need quite a long cook in the oven so it is good to time it with cooking something else. Bake some scones with sultanas, a cake, bread or even a dessert!
Long Slow Cook
The potatoes are sliced and placed in the dish raw, so can take a while to cook. Potatoes are variable as to how long they take to cook, so you will need to check towards the end of cooking time, and adjust the time in the oven accordingly.
It is not a dish to cook if you are up against a timetable – but it is certainly worth the wait! If you want to shorten the cooking time in the oven, parboil the potatoes for a few minutes until they are just beginning to soften, before putting them in the casserole.
When buying leeks, check your local green grocer as they are often cheaper than the supermarket – and they may be more locally grown too.
The leek, as you probably know, is related to the onion and garlic although is much less strong and pungent. The leek, along with the daffodil, has been an emblem of Wales since the 16th century, but there is evidence that it was grown and cooked in Wales many of hundreds of years before that. So it has certainly been around, and been a part of the Uk diet for a very long time.
When you pour the milk in, don’t worry if it doesn’t quite come to the top of the leek and potatoes, as the volume will decrease during the cooking time.
Leek And Potato Gratin
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 large leeks
- 4 medium potatoes
- 1 slice ham
- 50g / 1.5 oz cheddar cheese, grated
- 250ml milk
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C
- Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan
- Add the leeks
- Cook the leeks until soft and the rings fall apart
- Peel the potatoes and thinly slice
- Grease a casserole or large baking dish
- Place a layer of potatoes on the bottom
- Spoon over one third of the leeks
- Sprinkle with one quarter of the cheese
- Add half the ham, if using
- Add another layer of potatoes, leeks, cheese and ham
- Top with final layer of potatoes, leeks and a sprinkling of cheese
- Retain 1/4 of the cheese to sprinkle over towards the end of baking time
- Pour milk over the top, ensuring it almost covers the leek and potatoes
- Cover and bake for 45 minutes
- After 45 minutes remove from oven and remove cover and sprinkle with remaining cheese
- Replace in oven uncovered for 10 minutes
- Check potatoes are soft and fully cooked, if not return to oven for further time, checking occasionally
- When cooked, serve alone or with a green vegetable
- Also delicious with sweetcorn
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