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Irish Cheesy Leek & Potato Bake

Two significant dates happened last week, as they do every year, my birthday and St Patrick’s Day. My best friend in Australia was kind enough to send me a birthday gift, a hamper of delicious food and wine. The wine was Australian and the food was Irish (she is both herself so it’s a great combo) including a selection of cheeses. We ate a lot of it on Friday night (St Pat’s Day) but had leftovers so I thought I would use it in tonight’s dinner, using Irish flavours as inspiration. The only thing that really makes it Irish is the fact I used Irish cheese but any cheddar will work well and, of course,  you can just call it Leek & Potato Bake.

It is also loosely based on my Mum’s famous and incredibly delicious potato bake that is always requested at family barbecues. I included bacon but it would be pretty easy to have made it meat-free by simply omitting it (and using a vegetable stock cube). Although it would be simple enough to make it vegetarian it is definitely more of a comfort food than a health food. And with it grey and wet outside this is the perfect kind of day to curl up with a big plate of hot, oozy, creamy, salty, cheesy leek and potato bake.


Serves 4 as a main or more if making as a side dish.

Ingredients

250g cheese, grated
2 chicken stock cubes (must be cubes)
2 large potatoes, very thinly sliced
2 large leeks, sliced thicker than the potatoes
30g butter, cubed
300ml cream
100g bacon, diced (I used lardons)
pepper

Method

  1. Pre-heat oven to 200g.
  2. Grease your baking dish with butter.
  3. Place a layer of potato rounds in the dish, ensuring the bottom is completely covered.
  4. Add a layer of leek rounds.
  5. Sprinkle with half your cheese (if only doing 2 layers, adjust accordingly).
  6. Crumble one stock cube over the vegetables and season with pepper.
  7. Repeat the layers – potatoes, leeks, cheese, stock cube and pepper.
  8. Pour over the cream.
  9. Scatter the bacon over the top.
  10. Dot the cubes of butter sporadically on the top of the dish.
  11. Cover with foil and cook for 30 minutes.
  12. Remove the foil and check the bake (you want to ensure that the potatoes are cooking), cook for another 30 minutes uncovered.
  13. Remove from the oven, marvelling at it’s bubbliness.
  14. If eating as a main, serve with a simple green side salad.

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