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.