Leek & Vegetable Gratin
My hemming and hawing on how to use the fabulous giant leeks I'd recently purchased (quite inexpensively) paid off in spades when I rejected all the recipes I'd reviewed and created this delicious Leek & Vegetable Gratin. This bold tasting gratin of leeks, potato, rutabaga, carrots, white beans and dino kale in a cheddar-apple cider gratin sauce made a hearty and comforting winter dinner. Honestly, I could've eaten the whole thing myself! The sauce was exceptional and made a lovely change. Cayenne pepper was the perfect finish.
Leek & Vegetable Gratin:
2 tbsp butter
2 very large leeks
1 large rutabaga (Swede), peeled and chopped into large chunks
1 large potato, peeled and chopped into large chunks
2 carrots, sliced on the diagonal
1/2 bunch dinosaur kale, ribbed and torn
6 oz white Cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp flour
1/3 cup milk
1/3 cup apple cider (I used hard cider)
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
S & P
Preheat the oven to 375.
Cut the leeks in quarters from the base, leaving the top part attached. Soak in a bowl of cold water for 10 minutes to eliminate any grit/mud that may be caught inside. Slice the leeks, both the white and a good part of the green.
Heat salted water in a medium saucepan and parboil the rutabaga until tender (about 10 minutes). Add the potato as the water starts to boil and the carrot for the last 2 minutes. Drain.
Melt the butter in a saucepan and saute the leeks until almost tender (5-8 minutes). Add the kale and cook 2 more minutes. Turn off the heat and add the vegetables and beans, stirring until well mixed. Season.
Make the sauce. In a small saucepan, melt the butter and stir in the flour, cook for 2 minutes stirring continuously. Add the milk and heat, stirring until thickened (4-5 minutes). Add the cheese and the cider and turn off the heat. Stir until well combined and smooth, using additional cider to get a fairly runny sauce.
Place the vegetable mix in a gratin dish. Stir in the sauce and bake for 15 minutes. Finish under the broiler for 3 minutes, so the top of the sauce is beginning to blacken. Serve, powdered with Cayenne pepper.