From The Garden - Leeks

Ah, the humble leek. I think it's one of my favourite vegetables. Packed full of flavour, it enlivens every dish. I use it a lot in place of an onion as I just like it's sweetness more.

This recipe is a new favourite, Leek and Mushroom Pie. It is essentially a Shepherd's pie, but instead of cooking it with a mashed potato topping, you crush the potatoes in their skins, and then spread over the top of the filling.  It's a creamy, cheesy and yummy dish, guaranteed to make everyone feel satisfied. It's a dish to savour and to enjoy whilst spending time at the table together. Perfect for the weekend.

Leek and Mushroom Pie  (serves 4)

400g leeks, washed and sliced thinly
2 tbsp olive oil
30g butter
600g assorted mushrooms (I used portabello and closed cup but you can choose whatever you like), wiped and sliced, but not too thinly
2 tbsp heaped plain flour
300ml vegetable stock
1 small tub creme fraiche
100g mature cheddar cheese (grated)
Fresh thyme leaves

for the potato topping:

1kg floury potatoes (I use Maris Piper), washed, leaving the skins on and chopped into quarters
50g butter


Heat the olive oil and the butter in a pan.

Once melted, add the leeks then put a lid on the pan and cook until soft. This will take about 10 minutes. Remove from the pan and set aside.

Add the mushrooms to the pan (you may need a bit more oil/butter) and cook until they are lightly coloured.

Return the leeks to the pan.

Add the flour, mix well and then add your vegetable stock.

Bring to the boil and then gently simmer for about 10 minutes.

I like to add some fresh thyme leaves at this point, and you can use as much or as little of them as you like.

In a separate pan, gently warm the creme fraiche. Add the grated cheese and keep mixing until it has melted.

Add the cream mixture to the vegetable mixture and lightly mix together.

Pour into a large baking dish.

Then make the potato topping -

Bring a large pan of water to the boil.

Add potatoes, return to boil. Then simmer until potatoes are soft enough to crush/mash.

Add the butter to the pan and mash with the back of a fork. Leave it chunky. It's a rustic kind of a dish!

Cover the vegetable mixture with the potato topping.

Bake in a pre-heated oven at 200 degrees C for about 30 minutes.

Nice served with some greens on the side or some crusty bread.