Thursday, March 6, 2014

Leeks au Gratin

Leeks are a vegetable more uncommon than they should be. I grew them when I was in college, fascinated by just how large this thing that looked like a giant scallion would grow. One bite of its sweet, creamy, hint-of-garlic, slightly oniony taste, and I was hooked. Since that time I have been acquiring as many recipes as possible in which leeks are used as the main ingredient.

The French call this dish Poireaux au Gratin. The Irish call it Leeks au Gratin. I simply call it delicious. If you haven't tried leeks yet, now is the time.  An easy, make ahead, superior side dish for your St. Patrick's Day buffet, it also serves well as a main course.

This recipe is from the book, The New Irish Table, by the wonderful Margaret Johnson, provided by Marigold Allen, hostess of the Beeches Country House, County Antrim in Ireland.

Use good quality leeks.  I suggest Melissa's Belgian Style Trimmed Leeks as they are nicely trimmed, pre-washed, and peeled, and an absolute dream to work with.

I halved the recipe, and while I did cut the split leeks into six-inch lengths, I think the next time I'll cut them into smaller, bite-size pieces.

Leeks au Gratin

8 large leeks, white part only, halved lengthwise
½ cup heavy cream
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (I used Kerrygold Irish Aged Cheddar)
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
½ cup fresh seasoned breadcrumbs

Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Butter an ovenproof baking dish.

Cut each leek half into a six-inch length and rinse well under running water. Cook in salted boiling water for 4 minutes, or until slightly tender.  Drain.

Place the leeks, cut side up, into the prepared baking dish, pour in the cream, and sprinkle with the cheese, salt, and pepper.  Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until the cream has thickened and the cheese has melted.

Remove from the oven and preheat the broiler.  Sprinkle the leeks with breadcrumbs, then place the dish under the broiler, 4 inches from the heat source, for 2-3 minutes, or until lightly browned.

Serves 6.

This post is linked to:

Foodie Friday 


The Quintessential Magpie said...

I like leeks, too, and this sounds divine, Pattie!



Daphne Bryson said...

Good Afternoon Pattie, Leeks are such a popular vegetable here in the North East of England. Do you know, they hold Leek Competitions, which are taken very seriously.
A friend of George's mother gave us a huge leek which her husband had grown, and when we measured the circumference it was 12 inches. Can you believe that.... I had never seen such a large leek before and it was delicious. I wish I had your recipe for Leeks au Gratin when I had the huge leek, but once leeks come back into season I will certainly be enjoying your recipe.
Best Wishes
Daphne said...

Sounds like heaven to me Pattie! I will definitely be making this soon!
Thank you!

Anne said...

That looks good.

I use leeks a lot, but don't feature them very often - they're usually one of several ingredients. I'm going to try this.

~~louise~~ said...

I wanted to post a leek recipe for St. David's Day and I just didn't get to it. This one would have been just perfect, Pattie. Leeks really need a month of their own, lol...March would be a wonderful month to celebrate "The Leek." (it is after all, celery month, why not leeks:)

Thanks for sharing, Pattie...

Miz Helen said...

Hi Patti,
What a great dish, we will just love your Leeks they look delicious. Thanks so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday, it is so nice to have you with us today. Have a great weekend and come back soon!
Miz Helen