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.
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
100g bacon, diced (I used lardons)
- Pre-heat oven to 200g.
- Grease your baking dish with butter.
- Place a layer of potato rounds in the dish, ensuring the bottom is completely covered.
- Add a layer of leek rounds.
- Sprinkle with half your cheese (if only doing 2 layers, adjust accordingly).
- Crumble one stock cube over the vegetables and season with pepper.
- Repeat the layers – potatoes, leeks, cheese, stock cube and pepper.
- Pour over the cream.
- Scatter the bacon over the top.
- Dot the cubes of butter sporadically on the top of the dish.
- Cover with foil and cook for 30 minutes.
- Remove the foil and check the bake (you want to ensure that the potatoes are cooking), cook for another 30 minutes uncovered.
- Remove from the oven, marvelling at it’s bubbliness.
- If eating as a main, serve with a simple green side salad.