Friday, 4 April 2014

Creamy Potato & Leek Casserole

To be perfectly honest, I've never really had an interest in casseroles (making them, at least): I've always been very stove-top based (maybe because my interest in cooking started with Japanese and Chinese cooking?). So I'm not entirely sure why I'm suddenly taken with them. Maybe roasting potatoes is a gateway to all manner of oven cooking?

Regardless, I had a leek that was desperately in need of use the other day and, of course, my trusty "reduced!" baby red potatoes, and decided, rather than bother with making a soup (as was my original thought), I'd fashion it into a casserole. If it's possible, this is even easier than a soup, though of course it is more dry (and quite a bit more rich!).

Creamy Potato & Leek Casserole
Preheat oven to 220C.

Cut 1kg roasting potatoes into 1-2cm cubes/chunks and place them on the bottom of a baking dish. Over the top of this, evenly distribute:
4 cloves of garlic, crushed and sliced (not minced)
leaves stripped from 4 sprigs fresh thyme or rosemary
(if using rosemary, roughly chop the leaves)
1 brown onion, thinly sliced
1 leek, greens trimmed, halved, washed and thinly sliced (if you're new to leeks, here's a quick guide on how to prepare them)

Don't mix the vegetables together. Over the top of this, pour 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, spreading it evenly. Measure out 1/4 cup vegan butter or margarine (I use Nuttelex olive); scoop little pieces and place them across the top of the vegetables (they will melt into the mix in the oven). (Alternatively, melt together the oil and margarine and pour this mix over the vegetables).

Give the dish a good sprinkling of salt and a few good cracks of pepper, then place in the oven for 30 minutes.

While it's cooking, use either a blender or a stick blender to make the cream. If using a stick blender (much easier for clean up), place all ingredients in a tall container (one is usually included in the pack with stick blenders, otherwise improvise!). Regardless of the method, combine:
1/2 cup vegetable stock (I used homemade stock, which is quite rich and concentrated, so if using stock cubes or powder, consider using slightly greater ratio of cube/powder to water than you may otherwise)
1/2 cup soy milk
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
295-300g silken tofu
(I use Morinaga silken tofu, which comes in (debatably) 297g packs)
1tsp salt

A hearty pinch each of white pepper and nutritional yeast flakes 
Blend until completely smooth. DON'T TASTE IT, especially if you're an omnivore; just trust me that it will taste good in the casserole!

When the 30 minutes is up, remove the casserole from the oven and pour the cream over the top. Mix everything together so the cream is spread evenly through the whole mix. Return the casserole to the oven for a further 25 minutes. Allow the casserole to rest for 5-10 minutes once it's out of the oven, then enjoy!

1 comment:

  1. OMG WHERE WAS THIS RECIPE YESTERDAY? I had potatoes and leeks that HAD to be used up yesterday. And I ended up making soup. Pffffttt!


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