Saturday, 16 February 2008

Dinner: Cheesy Leek & Potato Bake with Burgers

I'm trying to do the less meat thing generally, but also want to make at least one meat free dinner each week (certainly during Lent and hopefully beyond).

So this was our Friday night dinner for this week.

The potato cheese and leek bake is a big favourite in our house. We could eat just this really, and I've served this with some baked beans on the side before which goes well but I'm the only one in the house that likes baked beans (maybe that's what I'll have with the leftovers).

The burgers were an experiment based on a couple of recipes I've used in the past -- I prefer nut burgers to bean burgers but had some cooked beans that needed using up so made a compromise batch!

Cheesy Leek & Potato Bake
(based on a recipe from the Sainsbury's Vegetarian Cookbook -- I have two veggie recipe books that Sainsbury's put out back in the early 90s when I was a vegetarian and I still use them often.)

2 leeks thinly sliced and steamed for about 10 minutes
5 small/medium potatoes sliced thinly and par-boiled (could use a few more or less depending on appetite)

Layer the leek and potato in an oiled baking dish and pour over a cheese sauce, sprinkle some reserved cheese (or grate on some parmesan perhaps).
Bake for a bout 30 mins at 375-400 degrees

For the cheese sauce melt a good knob of butter (or warm other fat) in a sauce pan, sprinkle on flour and cook until toasty. Add in some mustard (I used honey mustard but have used other kinds in the past) and pepper. Pour in liquid (I used about a cup of chicken broth so this wasn't actually suitable for a vegetarian but I have also made it with veggie stock in the past, and with milk as per the original recipe). Bring to a gentle boil while stirring. Remove from heat and stir in cheese (I used 4 oz grated cheddar, the recipe calls for 2oz but we love cheese and I wasn't using milk in the sauce).

(based on recipes from Mark Bittman in the NYTimes -- two years ago exactly it turns out! -- for bean burgers and nut burgers)

1 cup nuts (I used brazil nuts, almonds plus a handful or two of sunflower seeds)
1 cup beans and lentils
1/2 cup of oats
1 egg
1 shallot
1 clove garlic
some leeks saved from the bake
generous Tbspn of tahini and another of tomato paste
celery salt, paprika, basil
(I think that's everything, I meant to write it down as I went along.)

I put the oats and nuts in the food processor first to get them ground up evenly then gradually added in the other ingredients dryer first and wetter last.
Shape into burgers, I coated them in a little oat flour and fried them up.

They came out pretty tasty if a little bland. In the original recipes there's a lot more spice added but I was hoping my daughter would eat some and didn't want to over spice so erred on the side of caution. I think next time I'd certainly add more tomato paste at the very least. I ate mine with a bit of ketchup, my husband had mustard with his and that was plenty flavourful.

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