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They are to Wales what the maple leaf is to Canada—except, I would suggest, tastier and more nutrient rich. Like spinach, leeks have a bit of a dirty reputation. Don’t let the grit put you off ; simply cut them lengthwise and fan them out with your fingers while rinsing well under running water. Or if your recipe calls for chopped leeks, slice them into small pieces first, and then submerge them in a water bath. Although the dark green leaves are too tough for pleasant eating, they should be saved rather than composted, and used for making stock. Leeks go beautifully with chicken (cock-a-leekie soup wouldn’t be the same without them) and bacon (but then, what doesn’t?).
By / Photography By Barbara Cameron | February 01, 2014

Ingredients

  • 1 lb (500g or about 5 medium) leeks
  • ¼ lb (125g) back bacon, chopped into small pieces lots of freshly ground black pepper (at least ¼ tsp or 1mL)
  • ½ to ¾ tsp (2 to 4mL) salt, or to taste
  • 1 cup (250mL) chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 or 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ cup (60mL) parsley, chopped fine
  • 2 Tbsp (30mL) heavy cream
  • 1 cup (100g) shredded white cheddar or goat cheese
  • your favourite pastry dough (not sweet) for a single crust

Instructions

Preheat oven to 300°F.

Trim the roots and coarse green leaves from the leeks, cut into ¼-inch slices, and rinse in several changes of water. Place the leeks and back bacon in a 9-inch round pan (skillet or pie dish), grind lots of pepper over top, add salt, and cover with stock. Add bay leaf and thyme, and bake for about 90 minutes. Most of the liquid will have evaporated. Discard bay and thyme. Cool.

Increase oven temperature to 400°F.

Beat 1 of the eggs, the cream, parsley, and cheese, and using a fork, stir into the leek and back bacon mixture. Roll out your pastry, and cut out a circle to cover the pan, trimming and then crimping the edge. If you want to get fancy, cut a few leaf shapes from any leftover pastry, and decorate the crust. Prick with a fork all over to let steam escape.

Beat the second egg with 1 teaspoon of water and a pinch of salt. Brush over the pastry, and bake for about a half hour, or until the crust is a beautiful golden brown.

*Versatility is its middle name. Serve hot, cold, or at room temperature. It’s a main-course lunch, dinner with a big tossed salad, or perfect potluck contribution.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb (500g or about 5 medium) leeks
  • ¼ lb (125g) back bacon, chopped into small pieces lots of freshly ground black pepper (at least ¼ tsp or 1mL)
  • ½ to ¾ tsp (2 to 4mL) salt, or to taste
  • 1 cup (250mL) chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 or 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ cup (60mL) parsley, chopped fine
  • 2 Tbsp (30mL) heavy cream
  • 1 cup (100g) shredded white cheddar or goat cheese
  • your favourite pastry dough (not sweet) for a single crust
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