As you may know already, I am living in the French Alps, 30min away from Switzerland where cheese is THE main ingredients in many dishes, but you also have the “rösti” that many Swiss people consider as the National dish. This time, this dish doesn’t involve cheese but it is made with coarsely grated potatoes, most-often pan-fried, but can be also baked in the oven which I decide to do. Evenings are still quite chilly over here and there is nothing less comforting than a warm freshly-baked “winter gratin”, taking seasonal products such as leeks and potatoes, adding ham and parmesan… with a glass of red wine ! I got inspired and adapted the recipe from Rebecca Smith in the “Delicious” Magazine from February 2015.
Ingredients (for 6 people):
– 80g (1/3 cup) of butter
– 3 leeks
– 4 garlic cloves, crushed
– ½ tsp of grated nutmeg
– 40g (1/3 cup) of all-purpose flour
– 300ml of chicken stock
– 300ml of milk
– 300g of Ham
– 40g of grated parmesan
– 800g of goof quality potatoes
– Salt & Pepper
1. Clean the leeks and cut them in small slices of about 2cm. Steam cook in the pressure cooker for 5 minutes
2. Pre heat the oven to 180 degrees C (360 degrees F)
3. In a large pan, under medium/hot heat, add the crushed garlic with 40g of butter and cook gently for a few minutes until the butter is all melted and start making bubbles.
4. Add the flour, stir in for a couple of minutes and then add the chicken stock, stirring constantly under medium heat. The mixture should thicken quickly. Then gradually, add the milk and the grated nutmeg and don’t stop stirring until you reach a glossy sauce, thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Let it bubble for 2 to 3 minutes. Set aside under very low heat.
5. Put the cooked leeks in an ovenproof gratin dish, scatter with the cut ham. Pour over the white sauce and top it with the parmesan. Salt & pepper. Set aside.
6. Melt the rest of the butter (40g) in the microwave and set aside.
7. Peel and coarsely grate the potatoes. Put them in the center of a clean cloth, gather the cloth around and squeeze firmly to remove any excess of water.8. Tip the potatoes into a large bowl and pour over the melted butter with some salt. Then toss with your hands and scatter over the top of the cheesy-saucy leeks & Ham.
9. Roast in the oven for about 50minutes.
10. When golden and bubbling, remove the dish from the oven and it is ready to serve.