These cheesy leeks make a super vegetarian main. I struggle to find meat free mains that don’t leave me feeling short changed but this definitely hits the spot. All I need is a dish of these leeks and a good chunk of fresh wholemeal bread, and I’m sorted. Alternatively they make the perfect side dish served alongside your favourite Sunday roast or a casserole.
The sauce in this dish is thickened with a roux but, unlike a traditional roux, I don’t add the cold milk slowly, stirring constantly to avoid lumps. Instead I heat the milk first until it’s just below boiling point then add it all in one go. It’s a much quicker way of achieving the same result and one I use frequently.
This dish is perfect at this time of year, when it’s cold and bleak outside. So next time you get snowed in or it’s blowing a gale and raining horizontally, you know what to cook.
Smooth, silky leeks in a creamy, cheesy sauce. Absolutely gorgeous served with a chunk of bread or alongside your favourite roast or casserole.
- 1 large leek
- 1 tablespoon cooking oil or butter
- 1 heaped tablespoon plain flour
- 200 ml milk
- ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 80 g mature cheddar finely grated and divided
- Salt and pepper
- Finely slice the leek then wash thoroughly and drain well.
- Place a medium sized pan over a low to medium heat then add the oil or butter and the leek and cook, lid on but stirring often, until the leek has fully softened – 10 to 15 minutes.* Meanwhile, warm the milk so that it is hot but not scalding.
- When the leeks are soft and the juices have evaporated lower the heat. Add the flour and stir in, cooking for a minute or so, then pour in the hot milk and stir into the leeks.** Bring to a gentle simmer. Now add the mustard, cheese and pepper and combine. Check the seasoning adding salt if necessary. Pour the leeks into an oven dish, sprinkle with the remainder of the cheese and place into the oven. Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden and bubbling.
* You will need to make sure that the leek does not scald on the bottom of the pan. I find that adding a small amount of water helps with this but do not add too much or the leek will stew and you will not cook out its strong leeky flavour.
**Because the milk is hot you can add it all in one go. You will get no lumps and will end up with a lovely creamy sauce.