4 Large Leeks
1 Large Potato
3 Pints of Vegetable Stock
1 Pint of Milk
Knob of Butter
Top and tail the leeks. Cut gently lengthways to remove outer skin and discard. Slice into 1/2inch rounds, wash and rinse. Chop onion into similar size pieces. Peel Potato and dice as above. Heat butter in a large pan and add onion, potato and leeks. Add the bay leaf and seasoning. Cover the pan. Stir occasionally to stop sticking. You don’t want to brown the ingredients so keep the temperature low and just let them sweat. After 20 minutes the leeks and onions should be nice and soft now add the stock and milk. Bring to a boil and simmer gently for ½ hour stirring every 5 minutes or so. Skim off froth on top. Remove the bay leaf. Adjust the seasoning it’s worth knowing that as leeks are quite salty so be sure to taste carefully. Now you have 2 options on presentation. Either blitz to smooth velvety finish or leave ‘chunky’. Place into bowls and tear some fresh Tarragon and sprinkle on top.
A few thoughts about French Cooking …
It’s when creating cuisine out of our comfort zone, beyond the basic boiled egg and toast, that we tend err. Nervous, abashed even, we sometimes put in too much effort and the outcome is, well, not quite as it should be. Anybody who can cook the fundamentals of a good meal is able, with the right help, to raise their sights a little higher. If those sights were raised a little too high and the resulting meal not entirely reminiscent of that little bistro in Lyon or the wonderful flavours of the Jambon from Corsica, then should you worry? A meal that is not identical to one intended may not be a bad meal after all. Using nothing more than the nous we were born with it should be perfectly possible to select an avenue of French cuisine that matches our attainment (though not to presume miracles – nobody would expect you to make a silk purse from a pigs ear!) Avoiding the first pratfall will serve you in good stead – keep it simple. There is no need to embellish a dish with lorry loads of seasoning, trimmings, create overtly rich jus with all the fuss of Michelin Star gazing. No, have you ever seen an experienced pastry chef ever over egg their pudding?