What’s cooking today: Potato and leek bake
Leeks are ripe for the harvest in early spring, so take advantage and use these wonders of the allium world in a creamy potato bake.
Asked to name my favourite vegetable, I’m likely to answer “leeks” although I am mad about most veg and have a particular love for courgettes as well. Leeks are marvellous with cream; there’s something about this marriage that is very special. All they need as well as cream are salt and pepper, though you could add a grating or two of nutmeg.
Potatoes and leeks also go well together, as anyone who has enjoyed vichyssoise (or plain old leek and potato soup) will attest.
Here’s a simple recipe then for a weeknight veg dish that cooks itself in the oven while you prepare whatever you’re going to have with it.
6 medium potatoes, peeled
6 leeks, sliced
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
500 ml cream
Plenty of butter
Salt to taste
Black pepper to taste
A grating or two of nutmeg if you like
Preheat the oven to 220℃.
Slice the potatoes very thinly, about the thickness of a coin. Grease an oven dish with butter. Slice the leeks and chop the garlic.
Layer the dish with first potatoes, then leeks and a scattering of chopped garlic, adding a few knobs of butter and seasoning each layer with salt and black pepper. Don’t have too heavy a hand with the salt as it will accumulate layer upon layer. Then again, potatoes can take more salt than most vegetables. So try to assess it appropriately.
Pour in the cream. If it does not seem to be enough, add more cream or milk, or some chicken or vegetable stock.
Bake in the preheated oven until the potatoes are tender, anything up to an hour or 90 minutes. You can test by inserting a skewer or toothpick, or pricking a slice of potato with a fork. DM
Follow Tony Jackman on Instagram @tony_jackman_cooks.