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Ingredients

Method

  • STEP 1

    Heat the vegetable oil in a frying pan over a medium-high heat. Fry the bacon for 5 mins, then turn down the heat, add the white wine and simmer to a glaze. Add the double cream and reduce by half. Add the leeks and simmer for 10 mins, then stir in the thyme leaves, cheddar and season.

Can I make creamed leeks in advance?

Yes, this dish can be made ahead and chilled for up to three days. To reheat, put the creamed leeks in a saucepan over a medium heat and stir until warmed through.

Add a splash of water or cream to loosen the mixture, if needed.

When are leeks in season?

While leeks are available year round, they are at their peak from October through April.

Can you use the dark green tops of the leeks?

It’s best to remove the tops and outer leaves of the vegetable for this recipe. They can be tough to eat and will take longer to become tender. Use the discards in soup or make your own vegetable stock.

How to prepare leeks

Trim off the base roots and cut away the uppermost part of the leaves. Remove the outer layer (or ‘white’) if it’s tough. Slice the leek in half lengthwise. Place both halves cut-side down on a board, then slice the leek into half-moons.

What’s the best way to clean leeks?

Thorough washing is very important with leeks, as soil and grit often gets trapped between the many layers of leaves. After slicing the leeks in half, place them in a colander or sieve under cold running water. Toss gently and drain before adding to the pan.

What to serve with creamed leeks

This recipe could work as a main when served with roast potatoes. Or, serve creamed leeks alongside fish dishes such as poached salmon or fish cakes, or roast meats and steak.

Variations on creamed leeks

This recipe is made extra-indulgent with bacon rashers and cheddar cheese, but there are many other variations you could try:

  • To make the dish a little lighter, you could use vegetable stock and 1 tbsp crème fraîche instead of double cream.
  • Boost the flavour with additional herbs and spices – grated nutmeg and mixed herbs work well.
  • Add more seasonal veg, such as spring greens and peas, to bulk it out.
  • Try changing up the cheese – comté adds an extra-cheesy flavour. If you have any guanciale or smoked pancetta, this would take the bacon element to the next level.

Can I freeze creamed leeks?

We don’t advise freezing creamed leeks, as they can become soggy in the liquid over time. However, if you wanted to use them up, you could make the creamed leeks into a pie filling by bulking them out with extra veg or chicken before freezing.

Can I make creamed leeks vegan?

Replace bacon with a plant-based vegan alternative, or omit altogether. You can use any vegan hard cheese in place of cheddar, and replace the double cream with vegetable stock and vegan crème fraîche.

Recipe from Good Food magazine, October 2016

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