leek and potato bake
Mon, 29 February, 2016
I have tried here to make a light, vegetarian version of Tartiflette of sorts – which (Tartiflette that is) must be one of my top 20 favourite dishes. I remember one afternoon, a good few years ago, skiing in the French Alps when I got caught in a sudden blizzard quite high up. My then skiing standards were nursery slope in sunny weather on fluffy snow (they have now upgraded to easy blue on fluffy snow) so I was seriously freaked out, suffering visions of never getting back to the hotel, buried in a snow drift and dying of hypothermia before a St. Bernard dog with a brandy barrel got to rescue me.
I did make it down. Mostly sliding on my bum. I made the last gondola down and dried up in the hotel but I was majorly traumatised and didn’t stop throwing wobblies until a bubbling hot dish of Tartiflette was put in front of me and all ended well.
Since I’m in the south of England now, no whiff of snow, I replaced the onions with leeks, skipped the bacon (vegetarians: hurrah!) and didn’t try to source Reblochon but cleared out the post dinner party cheeses. Not bad. Wouldn’t have saved me after a blizzard though.
leek and potato bakeServings: 4Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
- 500g waxy potatoes, Le Ratte, Charlotte or similar
- 3 large trimmed leeks
- a bunch of dill, chopped
- a few sprigs of mint, chopped
- 3 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
- salt and pepper
- 4-5 tbsp. crème fraiche
- 100ml dry white wine
- 200g hard cheese, grated (Cheddar, Comte, Gruyere)
- 30g Parmesan, freshly grated
1. Boil the potatoes in salted water until tender, drain and cool.
2. Chop the leeks into 1 ½ - 2cm discs. Melt a tablespoon of butter in a pan and add the leeks. Cook on medium-high heat, stirring, until they start to brown in places and soften a little – about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic, mint and the dill and season very well with salt and pepper.
3. When the potatoes are cool, slice them not too thinly.
4. Butter a gratin dish. Layer the potatoes at the bottom, season with salt and pepper, spread about a third of the crème fraiche over them and a quarter of the hard cheese. Add a layer of leeks (about half of the amount), then repeat with potatoes, seasoning, cream, cheese and leeks, and top with the remaining potatoes and cheese, if any left.
5. Pour the wine all over the dish and top with half the parmesan. The bake can now wait in the fridge until it’s time to cook it, or it can be frozen at this stage (without the wine).
6. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/gas 6. Bake the dish for about 25-30 minutes, adding more parmesan on top halfway through the time.