A really homely recipe that’s very quick to put together and is very flexible in terms of ingredients, making it perfect for using up the vegetables in your fridge. The leeks and potatoes are the stars of the show and the bacon adds a depth of flavour but, beyond that, you can bulk it out with any other vegetables you have - I went with cauliflower on this occasion.
- 1.2kg potatoes - I went for a mix of Desire (900g, sliced) and baby new (300g, halved)
- 2 large leeks
- Half a cauliflower
- 16 rashers of smokey bacon
- 1 teaspoon English mustard powder
- 85g of butter
- 30g of flour
- 2 bay leaves
- 400ml double cream
- 500ml milk
- 1 handfull of white breadcrumbs
- Thyme and parsely - dry or fresh
- Drizzle of olive oil
- Salt and pepper
Cut any large potato varieties into 1cm thick discs, any small varieties, such as new potatoes, I like to just cut in half. Parboil (partly boil) in a large pan of salted water until they are almost cooked through but still plenty firm enough to hold their shape. Set aside.
Heat a frying pan with a drizzle of olive oil and a knob of butter. Finely slice the leeks and add to the pan. Fry on a medium heat for around 5 minutes or until nicely softened. Set aside.
To make the white sauce:
Place the butter and flour into a pan and beat together with a fork over a low heat to make a roux. Keep working the mixture together until the butter and flour are amalgamated into a smooth paste.
When this is done, get rid of your fork and take out a whisk. Turn the heat up a touch and start adding the milk a bit at a time so the pan doesn’t cool down too much, whisking the mixture all the time. Once the milk is all in, add the bay leaves and start to add the cream.
Once you’ve added all the cream, continue to stir the sauce with the whisk, and after a few minutes the mixture should start to thicken. Whisk in the mustard powder, thyme and parsely, and season with salt and pepper.
Cut or break your cauliflower into little florets and cut the streaky bacon rashers into 4.
Generously butter a large oven proof dish then add a few spoonfulls of white sauce. Layer the bottom with potatoes then add a few florets of cauliflower and a sprinkling of leeks. Pour on some white sauce then a layer of bacon pieces.
Repeat this process until all the ingredients are gone, or your dish is full, then sprinkle on the breadcrumbs. Make sure the last 3 items you add are white sauce, bacon and breadcrumbs, in that order, so the bacon and breadcrumbs sit on top and become crisp.
Bake in the oven at 180°C for 80 to 90 minutes. You can test the bake by sliding a sharp knife into it - once the potatoes have softened adequately it’s ready.