|Leek and bacon pie|
Leeks, being a hardy vegetable crop, will stand in the ground all winter despite rain, wind, frost and snow. This makes the leek one of the most useful crops for the kitchen garden, since leeks can be harvested fresh in March when not much else is growing. Leeks are versatile in the kitchen, too. They can be sliced and fried in butter as a hot vegetable, and I’ve previously posted recipes for Leek and turkey pie, Stir-fried sweet and sour pork with leeks, and Bean and vegetable pie.
This leek and bacon pie pairs the mild onion flavour of leeks with smoked streaky bacon (or smoked ham works equally well). It’s a sort of more substantial form of quiche, ideal for the cool days of early spring. Here’s the recipe.
Leek and bacon pie (serves 2)
4 oz (approx 125 g) plain flour
1 oz (approx 25 g) lard
1 oz (approx 25 g) butter
Water to mix
8 oz (approx 250 g) leeks
2 oz (approx 50 g) smoked streaky bacon
2.5 fl. oz. (approx 70 ml) milk
Grease a shallow heatproof pie dish.
Rub the butter and lard into the flour until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.
Gradually add cold water to mix to a soft dough. If the mix is floury, you need to add a little more water; if it is sticky, you have added too much water and need to add some more flour.
(Or you can use ready-made shortcrust pastry if you prefer).
Roll out about two-thirds of the pastry and line the bottom and sides of the pie dish.
Put the other one-third of the pastry aside while you make the filling.
Trim the leeks and wash them thoroughly. If they are very gritty (which is likely by March if they are home-grown), cut a vertical slash down the length of the green part and put them in cold water for a few minutes so that the leaves can separate and any grit trapped between them can fall out into the water. Cut the leeks into thin slices.
Chop the bacon into small pieces.
Fry the bacon over a moderate heat in cooking oil for a few minutes until starting to colour. Add the sliced leeks and continue frying for a few more minutes until the leeks are starting to soften.
Remove from the heat and season with salt and black pepper.
Put the leeks and bacon into the pie dish and spread out evenly.
Beat the egg and milk together and pour over the leeks and bacon.
Roll out the remaining one-third of the pastry to make a lid. Put it on top of the pie filling, trim off any surplus, and seal the edges.
Use any surplus pastry to make decorations for the top of the pie, if wished.
Brush the top of the pie with milk.
Bake in a hot oven at about 200 C for about 30 minutes until the pie is golden brown.
Serve hot, with potatoes and vegetables of your choice. This pie goes very well with roast potatoes, which need the same cooking temperature and about the same length of time and so can share the oven with the pie.