Prep 15 mins
Cook 1 hr
This is a simple, easy side dish, very comforting and nutrient-rich, to serve with meat and potatoes. Leeks and apples go together very well -- and at the end of the instructions I add the many variations you could try. So if you do not have the spices, for example, there are easy alternatives.
- 1 lb leek, cleaned weight (500g)
- oil (for frying)
- 3 apples, sweet eating apples
- 2 ounces feta cheese (60g)
- 1 teaspoon garlic, finely chopped
- black pepper, coarsely ground
- nutmeg, ground
- 1 teaspoon cumin seed
- 1 teaspoon fennel seed
- Tabasco sauce or hot pepper sauce or chopped hot pepper
- 1 ounce flour (30g)
- 2 cups milk (500ml)
- Young leeks (baby leeks or ramps) are nicest.
- Make sure large leeks are cleaned of all soil. Slice off most of green tops, then slice down into the leek "leaves", open the "leaves" and rinse under a tap.
- Slice leeks into 2 inch lengths and parboil -- this takes care of the "windy" aftereffects leeks can have! Drain.
- Set oven at 350 deg. F or 180 deg Celsius Those with convection ovens might want to use a lower setting.
- Grease an oven dish of roughly 8 x 8 x 3 inches,or 18 x 18 x 8cm.
- Peel apples, and slice thinly. Pack into bottom of dish. You should have at least 2 layers, else use an extra apple. Season lightly with salt, pepper and ground nutmeg. (If using a sour apple like Granny Smith, sprinkle over a teaspoon or more of sugar or substitute).
- Crumble over the feta, and also the chopped garlic.
- Layer over the drained leeks. Sprinkle with the fennel and cumin seeds, and season again lightly with salt, pepper, nutmeg and a few drops of hot sauce.
- Measure the milk into a saucepan, add the flour, and whisk until it comes to boiling. Remove from heat immediately -- the white sauce contains no butter and could burn at the bottom.
- Ladle over the leeks. Sprinkle top generously with a seasoned salt, or with salt and dried herbs, or a barbecue spice.
- Bake for about 50 - 60 minutes, or until the dish has puffed slightly all over and the edges are turning a pale brown.
- Delicious with meats and a filling but light side dish.
- **Please note that this recipe is very adaptable. You could bake it in a pie crust by adding 2 eggs to the white sauce. You could add fried, chopped bacon. You could use chopped fresh herbs instead of the spices.
Of always loved leeks, apples and onions together, and this is no exception. The cumin and fennel seeds really put this over the top. I think the fennel seeds especially, are essential. My apples were the Golden Delicious variety. I did double the garlic and I added an extra 2 oz of feta cheese to the white sauce. This is another one of those "side dishes" that I could eat as a meal alone. Thanx for another great recipe!