Prep 15 mins
Cook 40 mins
A creamy flavoursome side-dish which allows leeks and onions to really star, but which also includes thyme, nutmeg and black pepper, wine and several different cheeses. I've included feta here as it blends so well with onions and other vegetables in pies and strudels, but if you are not fond of feta, by all means substitute it with something else such as goat's cheese or cream cheese or ricotta. Equally you could use Greek yoghurt instead of the double cream. I love the crunch of nuts in a dish like this, but if that does not appeal, and of course if some of those who'll be eating your dish have nut allergies, leave them out. Like all my recipes, this is an invitation to do with it what you will so that it meets your taste preferences.
- 40 g unsalted butter
- 6 leeks, white and pale green parts only, thoroughly washed, halved and finely sliced
- 6 onions, chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar
- 150 ml white wine
- 10 tablespoons double cream
- fresh ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 cup feta cheese, crumbled
- 1 cup havarti cheese or 1 cup swiss cheese, grated
- 1⁄2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
- 1⁄4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 1⁄2 tablespoons almonds or 1 1⁄2 tablespoons walnuts, coarsely chopped
- fresh chives, to garnish
- Melt the butter in a pan over a medium heat and gently sauté the leeks, onions, garlic and thyme for 5-10 minutes or until they have softened. In the last few minutes, add the teaspoon of brown sugar. Pour in the white wine and leave the pan over the heat for a further 5 minutes.
- Add the double cream, season to taste with the black pepper; and simmer gently for 5-6 minutes.
- Transfer the leeks and onions to an ovenproof dish and leave to cool.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/355°F/gas 4.
- In a small bowl, combine the cheeses, nutmeg and nuts. If the leeks and onions mixture seems too thick, to be having the cheeses and nuts added to it, add a little more wine, a tiny bit at a time; then add the cheese and nuts mixture to the ovenproof dish containing the leeks and onions; and bake it in the oven for 20-30 minutes. The cheeses and nuts can serve as a topping for the leeks and onions or you can mix the cheeses into the leeks and onions mixture. Go with your preference.
- Serve hot, garnished with fresh chives.
Sorry, but I found this dish too dry, too strongly flavoured with thyme and felt that quite a lot of preparation (and pricey cheeses) resulted in a mediocre dish.