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    Cheesy leeks with crispy crumb

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    Cheesy leeks with crispy crumb

    By Alex Head

    'One of the first things my granny taught me to cook was a white sauce, and it’s still one of my staples. I challenge anyone to find a better partner for roast pork than these sweet, salty, crunchy-topped cheesy leeks.'

    • Preparation time: 5 minutes
    • Cooking time: 40 minutes
    • Total time: 40 minutes 40 minutes

    Serves: 4

    Ingredients

    3 large leeks, cut into 2cm-long pieces
    25g salted butter
    25g plain flour
    220ml whole milk
    1 tsp Dijon mustard
    pinch grated nutmeg
    120g mature cheddar, grated
    30g parmigiano reggiano, grated
    1 tbsp thyme leaves (about 7 sprigs)
    3 tbsp white breadcrumbs 

    Method

    1. Preheat the oven to 180˚C, gas mark 4. Blanch the leeks in boiling salted water for 5 minutes, then drain and cool under cold water; set aside. 

    2. Melt the butter in a heavy-based pan over a medium heat, add the flour and stir until the flour is cooked (about 1-2 minutes; the paste should become paler). Whisk in ½ the milk until it thickens, then whisk in the rest and keep whisking until the mixture is smooth. Add the mustard and nutmeg, then take off the heat, stir in both cheeses and season. 

    3. Transfer the leeks to an ovenproof dish, sprinkle with the thyme leaves and pour over the white sauce. Sprinkle over the breadcrumbs, then bake for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown and bubbling. 

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