Last night was the sort of night when I had to make some kind of supper from the contents of the draughty store cupboards, the barren corners of the fridge and where things go to die in the wilder remote plains of the freezer. If I’m painting a desolate picture, it is because it is as desolate as the Siberian steppes.
It is coming to that time of year where everybody else is filling fridges and larders with glistening pies, meats, fruits, cheese, breads etc, but when you know that you’re playing a waiting game till you can go home for Christmas, the fridge is something Scrooge would take pride in. And it is a waiting game, I am impatient for the end of the week and I know that when I get home I will have 3 days of sheer hell waiting for me working in the shop reuniting people with their christmas orders. But it’s so completely worth it; curling up at home on Christmas Eve and knowing the next week will be spent enjoying home comforts, good food, great books and at least one Julie Andrews film.
This is the kind of supper that would work well with all kinds of leftovers, this was leeks, bacon and sausagemeat, but you could use stuffing, parsnips, sprouts, cooked ham, cranberry sauce etc. It’s really a giant potato gratin but with layers of savoury goodness between the cheesy potato layers, which is of course completely artery-thickening but if you’re going to overdo it at Christmas then it should be on delicious things (and perhaps the odd selection box, chocolate orange, Baileys on ice). I think this would be a good one to have with cold turkey on Boxing Day. Saying that I hope I shall be eating lobster as per Boxing Day tradition.
a gratin/lasagne dish buttered
- 6 large potatoes, thinly sliced (i cut off one side and then slice down to stop the potato slipping but if you have a magimix, this would take seconds on the slicy setting)
- 500ml double cream
- tsp of thyme leaves
- tsp of dried nutmeg
- 1 crushed garlic clove
- 3 leeks finely chopped
- 6 sausages (broken out of their skins and into smaller pieces)
- 200g gruyere, grated
- 2 rashers of smoked bacon or pancetta, bite size chunks
- salt and pepper
- On a low heat, place a frying pan and gently fry the sausagemeat and bacon. The bacon should be browned and crispy but the sausagemeat does not need to be completely cooked, just the pink tinge reduced. When these are nearing readiness, add the leeks and allow these to soften in the pan. Remove from the heat and set to one side.
- In a saucepan on low heat, add the cream, crushed garlic, nutmeg and thyme. Stir through until the cream is hot and slightly thickening. Remove from the heat.
- In the dish, place a layer of potatoes across the bottom of the dish. Scatter these with salt and pepper and gruyere and then a handful of the sausage/bacon/leek mixture. Pour over a layer of the cream and repeat with potatoes, cheese, salt and pepper and the mixture. After each layer, pour over the cream.
- On the final layer, add a handful of gruyere and place in a preheated oven (about 170C) for 45 minutes to an hour, or until the potatoes are soft when pierced with a knife.