This recipe comes comes courtesy of the very generous Domini Kemp (on the right) who has given us access to her recipe book. I'm off bread because I can't sleep (doesn't make any difference) but the golden brown cubes poking out of this dish look delicious.
Domini says this dish survived re heating on day 2 and limped into day 3 though in a slightly more rubbery guise. I'm not sure what the eating habits are in Domini's house but it must be very different from the wild animals in mine, you're lucky to get the bowl back on the first outing, never mind day 2 and 3.Anyway, here we go, a huge thanks again to Domini Kemp.
Ingredients: 6 really big leeks salt and pepper 50g butter Splash olive oil 3 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced Few sprigs thyme 1 loaf decent white bread (about 600 g) 500ml milk 500ml cream 3 eggs nutmeg (grated, optional) 250g grated Gruyère or Cheddar
Preheat an oven to 170 degrees/gas mark three. Chop the leeks into two- to three-centimetre slices and sweat them with the butter and olive oil in a large saucepan with a lid on it, for 10 to 15 minutes, until they are soft. Season really generously, then add the garlic and thyme. While this is cooking, cut the bread into three-centimetre cubes and bake them in the oven for 10 minutes or so until they are golden brown. I would also season these lightly.
Beat together the milk, cream and eggs. You can add a pinch of nutmeg to this if you like. When the leeks are very soft, add the toasted bread cubes, mix well and then spoon the mixture into a suitable-sized gratin dish. The leeks should come quite high up the dish, but you do need to allow for the cream mixture to go in, so leave enough room.
Pour the cream mixture over the leeks and bread and top with the grated cheese. Leave it to soak for 15 minutes to an hour or so, before baking for about an hour, till the top is golden brown.
Allow to cool a little so the filling can settle and then serve.