Monday, November 21, 2011

Scalloped potatoes with ham and leeks

I have an overabundance of winter veggies from the CSA.  In particular, squash, potatoes, onions, and leeks.  The squash and potatoes are happily sleeping in my basement until I feel like using them.  The leeks were massive and taking up space in my veggie drawer.  Seriously, these things were as big as my arm.

one of two ginormous leeks.  and to think, last month I got a
small leek and I was actually whining about how small it was.
 One of the cooking blogs I read is Three Many Cooks, and I found this recipe for Creamy Leek Gratin with Garlic Breadcrumbs and Bacon.  I had some ham steaks from the farm and decided that this would make a nice main course for the week.  However, upon slicing up the two massive leeks, I realized that while massive, they were only about half of what I needed for the recipe.  And then I went off-recipe and created something which I consider was WAY tastier.  This was done on the fly and measurements are approximate.  Really, I just used whatever I had lying around.

I'm guessing this makes 6 servings.

  • ~1 lb leeks, sliced
  • ~1/2 cup onion, diced
  • garlic
  • spinach (I used one bunch - next time, I will use 2 bunches)
  • 5 fist sized potatoes (they may have been smaller).  Maybe a pound?  Type doesn't matter - I used both russet and red.  Slice thin, no need to peel them.
  • ~2 lbs ham, fat removed and cubed
  • panko breadcrumbs
Bechamel Sauce
(I think this is a bechamel sauce.... its my version of it anyways)
  • 2 T butter
  • 2-3 T flour
  • milk (really no idea.... 2 cups maybe?)
  • half and half (same amount as milk, but really no idea on the quantity.  Also, you could probably just use milk here)
  • 8 oz shredded smoked grueyre cheese
  • pepper
  • 6 oz plain greek yogurt
  1. Preheat over to 425.
  2. Quarter and slice leeks and let soak in 2 water baths to remove dirt and grit.
  3. Get a big mixing bowl.  You can layer everything in a casserole dish, but I just dumped everything in a huge bowl, added the sauce, mixed it up well, and dumped it in a pan.
  4. Slice potatoes, dice ham and put in mixing bowl.
  5. Sautee leeks, garlic, and onion until translucent, about 10 min on medium heat.
  6. When done, transfer to bowl, keeping about 1 cup of leeks separate.
  7. Sautee spinach.  Honestly, the spinach could be cooked with the leeks.... I just didn't think of adding them until the leeks were almost done.  Add to bowl.
  8. Make sauce
    • prepare a roux.  Add butter and melt it, then add flour.  Then slowly add the milk, stirring with a whisk to avoid lumps.  Really, you want to add the milk slow.  Once that's combined, add the half and half.
    • Bring it up to a warm temperature - you don't want it to boil.  You just need it hot enough to melt the cheese.
    • Add ground pepper to taste.
    • Add cheesy goodness.  And stir a lot to melt.
    • Once the cheese is melted, remove from the heat and add leeks and greek yogurt.  Whisk to incorporate/mix yogurt.  Then I blended it a bit with an immersion blender - although you could totally skip this step. (also, if you don't blend it, you can skip adding leeks to the sauce).  I thought the yogurt was a bit odd, but it added a nice creamy-ness to it and you couldn't tell it was in there.
  9. Add sauce to bowl with the rest ingredients and mix to ensure everything is coated.  You want this pretty soupy.
  10. Add to casserole dish (I used a 13 x 9 glass dish), coat generously with breadcrumbs
  11. Bake in oven for ~45 - 60 min.  It was probably done at 45 minutes, I just wanted to make sure.  Also, after 30 min, check every 15 min or so to ensure your breadcrumbs don't burn.  I had to cover with foil after 45 minutes.
  12. Remove from oven and let it sit for ~10 min. 
  13. Try not to eat the whole pan.

No comments: