The Perfect Side Dish: Creamy Leeks

creamy leeks 2

We've finally plunged into the depths of winter, and alongside pumpkin spice lattes, tartan scarves and other such autumnal cliches, I think we should remember that this means we can have roast dinners again! Is there anything more fabulous? I think not.

Roast dinners are synonymous with family. With big bowls of steaming vegetables and succulent meats being passed around the table. Squabbling over the last bit of gravy. Roast dinners must be eaten when it's dark outside, and they must be eaten with people you love. They certainly can't be eaten alone - can you even roast a one person portion?

Some of my fondest memories revolve around roast dinners; it was sitting around the table for a weekly roast dinner with my housemates that I finally felt at home in Leeds. It was serving up a big roast dinner at Uni, which we had to eat in the hall because there was no other room long enough, which gave me one of my favourite nights there.

Roast dinners, however, require a lot of component parts to work. A roast dinner is greater than the sum of its parts, but each of its parts need to be delicious. Which is exactly where this creamy leeks recipe comes in. I can't take credit for it - it's a recipe I learnt from Stu (he of the Bread and Butter Pudding victory) but it has become an essential side dish for my roast dinners. The paprika is a surprising addition, but somehow it just works. And has anything ever tasted worse when it's covered in melted cheese and breadcrumbs?

cooking leeks

You'll need (Serves 4):

  • 2 large leeks, chopped
  • A big knob (teehee) of butter
  • 300ml chicken stock
  • 150ml cream
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic salt
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • Lots of freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • A sprinkling of Panko breadcrumbs
  • A liberal helping of grated Parmesan

chopped leeks

1. Melt the butter in a large frying pan. Separate the leeks and add to the pan.

2. Sweat for five minutes over a low-medium heat.

3. Add the chicken stock and turn up the heat. Bubble until the chicken stock is mostly evaporated.

cream

4. Turn off the heat and stir in the cream, black pepper, paprika and garlic salt.

paprika

5. Pour into a oven-safe dish, cover in breadcrumbs and parmesan.

cheese

6. Bake at 180°C (which should be what you're cooking the rest of your roast at, all being well) for 15-20 minutes until hot and bubbling.

If it's not quite browned off, finish off under the grill until the cheese is melted and delicious.

Serve on the side of your roast dinner, and reap the praises.

creamy leeks