Leek mac and cheese

Leek mac & cheese
Leek mac & cheese

This was actually suppose to be a jalapeño mac and cheese, but the ones I had in my fridge had gone all manky, and there appeared to be a jalapeño shortage in north London. I was a bit peeved about this, until I spoke to my friend, Abbie, who informed me that the best mac and cheese she had ever eaten was Delia’s leek and bacon. I pondered for a moment – maybe I didn’t need jalapeños. I certainly didn’t need bacon. Maybe I just needed leeks. Leeks and cheese make excellent bed fellows, so why not throw them together to make hot, passionate cheesy love?
Gosh, where did that come from? Anyway, enjoy – I certainly did.


Leek mac and cheese
Serves 4-6 / Hands on time 30 mins / Total time 50 mins / V*
You’ll need: Deep casserole dish and a food processor (if making breadcrumbs)
250g macaroni
2 Tbs unsalted butter
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 large leek, roughly chopped
3 Tbs plain flour
400ml semi skimmed milk
250g cheese (you can use a mixture of any cheese you like as long as it melts. I used a mix of Gruyére* and cheddar)
Breadcrumbs (optional)
50g of bread (stale is best)
1 garlic clove
1 knob of butter
Grated parmesan* or Italian hard cheese
To serve
leaves and pickles

 *Gruyére is a cheese of protected status originating from Switzerland. The production and maturation is defined in Swiss law and all Swiss Gruyère producers must follow these rules, however this doesn’t specify the use of animal rennet. Therefore it could or could not be vegetarian. Use an alternative if you are vegetarian.
* Parmesan (Parmigiano Reggiani) is always made using animal rennet, therefore it is not vegetarian. Substitute for Italian hard cheese if applicable.

Method
1. Preheat your oven to 200°C/180°fan/400F/gas mark 7. Cook your macaroni according the the packet instructions, drain and put to one side. Meanwhile, make your breadcrumbs by blitzing up 50g of stale bread in a food processor, put to one side. Add a knob of butter to a large frying pan along with a crushed garlic clove on a medium heat. Once melted add the breadcrumbs and fry until golden brown. Put to one side.
2. In a large saucepan add the butter, crushed garlic cloves and dijon mustard on a medium heat. Add the roughly chopped leek stir until well coated in the mix. Put the lid on and allow to sweat for 10 mins, keeping an eye on the mixture to make sure it doesn’t burn. Meanwhile, use this time to grate the mountain of cheese.
3. Once the leeks have softened, add the the flour, stir and continue to cook for a minute stirring continually. Add the milk bit by bit and incorporate into the leeks stirring well until smooth (well as smooth as it can be with the leeks in it). Season well with salt and pepper and take off the heat.
4. Add the cheese a handful at a time and stir after each addition, until you have a thick, silky cheese sauce. Stir in the macaroni and pour into an oven proof dish. Sprinkle over the breadcrumbs, grate over the parmesan. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes. Once cooked, leave to stand for 5 minutes before serving with a simple salad and few pickles.
Leek mac & cheese
Leek mac & cheese

If you’ve had a go at making my mac and cheese or any of my other recipes, I’d love to hear about it @corrieheale corrie.heale@gmail.com


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