Thursday, 20 September 2012

Parmesan, bacon, leek and potato gratin

This recipe is adapted from Rose Elliot's latest Vegetarian cookbook 30-Minute Vegetarian. I can't say I'd used any of her books before so I was interested to see what she came up with. The recipes I've tried have all been very easy to follow, inexpensive and quick as the title suggests. However I have found a few of them lacking in flavour and in need of some herbs at the least. So in this I've added some garlic and thyme (I used lemon thyme but any you have around will do the job), and then I also completely destroyed the vegetarian aspect by throwing in some bacon that was nearing it's expiry date and I hate waste. It would have been lovely without, but with it felt like the decadence of a carbonara muddled in with the comfort factor of mashed potato. Bliss!

I know it's not the best in terms of calories, but it's not bad to be honest, and some days I watch what I eat a little too closely and come in a few hundred short, so I figure a nice filling meal is better than sneeking in a glass of vino or (even more) dark chocolate.

I used a dish that was too big here, a large roasting dish. Something more like a casserole pot or very deep brownie tin would be much better. Reheats well, freezes well, batch cooks well, prepares in advance for sticking in the oven when needed.... can't really go wrong.

1.5 kg peeled potatoes cut into 1cm deep slices
400g trimmed leeks, sliced
100g parmesan or grana padano
200ml double cream
4 rashers bacon (optional)
2 cloves garlic, crushed
salt & pepper
Fresh or frozen thyme, around 1tsp

Serves: 4
Cost per portion: £0.98(excluding bacon, £0.25 more per portion including bacon)
Nutrition: 576 calories, 27g carbs, 16g protein

Put the potatoes on to boil for 15 minutes.

In a frying pan fry the leeks and bacon in a little oil over a medium-low heat. When leeks are softened and bacon is cooked through add the garlic and stir. Remove from the heat and add the cream, thyme, half the parmesan and salt & pepper. Set aside.

Turn grill to a high heat if cooking immediately. Heat oven to 180C if cooking from chilled.

When potatoes are cooked layer half in the base of a large casserole dish (at least 4" deep).

Pour over the leek and bacon mixture.

Layer the remaining potatoes on top. Sprinkle over the remaining parmesan.

If making ahead: chill until required then bake at 180C for 20-25mins.

If making for immediate consumption: Place under the grill for 10-12minutes until parmesan is golden and the edges of the potatoes are slightly crisp.

Serve with vegetables (I liked it with kale) and enjoy.

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