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Potato & Leek Boulangere
'à la boulangère' is a French term for a side-dish of sliced potatoes baked with onions with a little stock from the main joint/dish.
This version using a leek has excellent flavour, particularly if you have some home-made chicken stock. Vegetarians can use Marigold Swiss Bouillon to good effect.
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For 4 helpings:
600g/1 lb 5 oz King Edward or Desirée Potatoes
1 big Leek, trimmed of its root and dark green top - leave the pale-green section
1 medium clove of Garlic, peeled and finely-chopped
2 pinches of Dried Thyme - or leaves from half a dozen sprigs, removed from their stem
50g/2 oz Butter
600ml/1 pint Chicken or Vegetable Stock (q.v.) - see above
Salt and freshly-ground Black Pepper
Equipment needed: An ovenproof dish and a sheet of tin foil to fit.
- Split the leek lengthways, and wash it carefully under a cold tap - they can be very gritty.
- Slice each half into three, and then into segments.
- Melt the butter gently in a heavy frying pan, then add the leek sections, gently breaking them up into their individual 'leaves'.
- Sweat them slowly, so they soften without browning, and after five minutes add the chopped garlic.
- Whilst the leeks are softening, peel the potatoes and slice them into coin-thick slices. Don't be tempted to put these slices in water as this will wash the vital starch away, and this is needed to thicken the dish.
- Mix the sliced potatoes and leeks together in a bowl, and season with freshly-ground black pepper. Add salt as well if your stock isn't too salty, but if using cubes or Marigold Bouillon, extra salt will be unnecessary.
- Transfer the potato mixture to an ovenproof dish, making the top as neat as possible.
- Pour over the stock. The potatoes should be covered - if not add a little dry white wine or water.
- Cover the dish loosely with a sheet of tin foil, and bake in the oven (180C/350F/Gas 4) for 1 hour.
- Remove the tin foil, and return the dish to the oven for a further 30 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a knife.
Serve. See 'Chicken Stock'