This is my new favorite way to cook and eat leeks. My Dad made this on a whim, without a recipe, for Christmas dinner, and it was amazing; no leftovers at all! You can easily make double this recipe, which is what I did since I had a whole bunch of leeks from my Dad's garden and wanted to cook them up all at once. I cooked all the leeks, about 10 cups total, and baked half right away. The next day I baked the other half for another dinner. This is a nice addition to a pot luck dinner, and if you do have leftovers, they are great hot or cold. Prepping the leeks takes the longest, especially if you are getting them from your root cellar and not fresh from the store. Leeks are a great storage veggie, as you can easily peel off the less pretty outer layers and find a perfectly preserved leek inside!
- 5 cups sliced leeks, white and light green parts only
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 3 tablespoons pasture butter
- 1 large egg
- a shy 1/2 cup cream or half and half
Prepare the leeks: strip away any rotten or damaged outer layers; slice off the root tip and trim the top to the light green part. Thinly slice all the leeks until you have about 5 cups.
Preheat the oven to 355 degrees.
In a large sauce pan or pot, I used my enamel coated cast iron soup pot, add the butter, sliced leeks and sprinkle with salt, then add as much black pepper as you like.
Over medium low flame, sweat the leeks until they are just past bright green, cooked through and reduced dramatically in size.
Let the leeks cool.
Whip together the egg and heavy cream.
Combine the egg, cream and cooked leeks in glass or ceramic baking dish. I used a 1.5 liter pyrex square.
Spread the mixture evenly and top with a sprinkling of cheese. Gruyere is my favorite!
Bake the gratin until it's set and starting to brown around the edges, about 30 minutes. You can brown the cheese under the broiler at the end, if that sounds good to you. Enjoy!