This rich, creamy gratin gets a note of smokiness from the bacon between the layers of tender potatoes. A hand mandoline positioned over a large bowl makes an excellent tool for which to create perfectly sized potato slices.
Definitely company-worthy and impressive, not to mention sinfully decadent and flavorful, these were a big hit for all of us.
3 medium leeks, white and light-green parts only, thinly sliced
6 oz. grated Gruyère
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh thyme
1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs
1/4 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
2 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted
Sweet paprika, for topping (optional)
Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 400°F. Butter or oil a 3-quart gratin dish; set aside.
Put the potatoes, cream , 1/2 tsp. salt, and a few grinds of pepper in a 12-inch skillet. Simmer, partially covered, over medium to medium-low heat, stirring often and gently with a rubber spatula until the potatoes are barely tender when pierced with a fork or skewer, 8 to 12 minutes.
In a medium skillet, cook the bacon until browned and fully cooked. Set aside to cool, reserving 2 Tbs. of the fat in the skillet. Heat the reserved fat over medium-high heat and sauté leeks until tender, fragrant, and lightly browned. Season to taste with salt and pepper. When the bacon is cool, crumble it into small pieces.
Using a slotted spoon, transfer half the potatoes to the prepared gratin dish, spreading them evenly. Layer on the leeks, bacon, Gruyère, thyme, and nutmeg. Top with the remaining potatoes spreading them evenly, and pour over any liquid remaining in the pan.
In a small bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and melted butter. Evenly scatter the topping mixture over the potatoes. If using, sprinkle a light layer of sweet paprika over the breadcrumb topping.
Bake the gratin until it’s bubbly, the top is brown, and the potatoes are completely tender when poked with a fork or a skewer, 25 to 30 minutes. Let the gratin sit for at least 10 and up to 30 minutes before serving so the liquid is fully absorbed and the layers are cohesive.
This savory herb-flecked sauté tastes just like stuffing, but without the bread—goodbye carbs! It embraces celery’s crisp texture and distinctive flavor. Found in a decade-old issue of Fine Cooking Magazine, it intrigued us enough to include as a side dish for our Smothered Chicken with Bourbon and Miso.
One rarely thinks of cooked celery as the star of a side dish. It typically takes a back burner as a mix-in to salads, additive to soups, or an accompaniment to hot wings. But here it shines and surprises. We have now added the recipe to our favorites and plan to serve to guests, especially those who are vegetarian.
Boneless country-style pork spareribs are a rich, flavorful cut that stands up nicely to the bold Mediterranean ingredients in this recipe for tigania, a Greek vegetable and meat dish similar to a stir-fry. There are copious amounts of leeks, which turn soft and savory, practically melting in your mouth by the time the dish is ready.
Don’t forget to wash and dry the leeks after slicing them. Leeks’ many layers trap sand and grit. After adding the pork to the skillet, don’t stir the pieces until they’ve formed a nice brown crust on the bottom.
You can serve it over a bed of steamed rice like us, or perhaps simple boiled potatoes is more your style. And if you’re cruising down that low-carb highway, simply eat it as is.
Spicy Pork with Leeks and Roasted Red Peppers (Tigania)
2 lbs. boneless country-style pork spareribs, trimmed and cut into 1½-inch chunks
1 Tbsp. grapeseed or other neutral oil
2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
6 large leeks, white and light green parts sliced ½-inch thick, rinsed and dried
4 large garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
1 cup dry white wine
1 7-oz. jar roasted red peppers, drained and diced (about 1 cup)
½ cup pitted green olives, chopped
2 Tbsp. fresh oregano, minced
Lemon wedges, to serve
In a large bowl, stir together the pepper flakes, 1 teaspoon each salt and pepper, and ¾ teaspoon of the dried oregano. Add the pork and toss.
In a 12-inch skillet over medium-high, heat the grapeseed oil until smoking. Add the pork in a single layer and cook without disturbing until dark golden brown on the bottom, about 5 minutes. Stir and cook until no longer pink, about another 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a large plate.
Pour off and discard the fat from the pan, then return to medium-high. Add the olive oil, leeks, garlic, the remaining 2 teaspoons dried oregano and ½ teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring and scraping up any browned bits, until the leeks begin to soften, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the pork, then the wine. Bring to a simmer and cover, then reduce to low and cook until the pork is tender, about 30 minutes.
Stir in the roasted red peppers and olives. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a serving plate and sprinkle with fresh oregano. Serve with lemon wedges.