Cheesy Leek Bake
Do you ever pass Leeks in the grocery store or at the Farmers Market and think it would be great to cook with them but not know what to do with them? Well, I have solved that problem for you…go and buy some, because they are delicious!
Leeks are like a milder onion, and that flavor combined with the cheesiness of this dish is absolutely fantastic! Leeks really need to be cleaned well, so be sure not to skip that step, or else you’ll have dirt and grit as part of your dish which I’m sure you don’t want! The bread I used for dipping was just a baguette made into crostinis by brushing with olive oil and garlic…but any bread that is on the crusty side or crackers would pair well.
Update-I made this as a dip in a slow cooker with the same amazing results and put directions in the recipe below!
- 2 Lbs Leeks-cleaned well and chopped (about 2-3 leeks)
- 2 Green onions, finely chopped
- 6 Sprigs of fresh Thyme
- 1.5 Tbs Butter
- 2 Garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 Tbs olive oil
- 1¼ Cups reduced fat sharp cheddar
- ½ cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
- ¼ cup half and half
- 8 oz Cream Cheese, reduced fat
- ¼ cup water
- Salt, pepper and ¼-1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
- For the oven version:
- Preheat the oven to 400. Cut the tops off the leeks and remove any bad looking leaves, then cut the bottoms off, then cut remaining leeks you will use into 4s and then chop up. Put these in a colander and really clean well to get all the dirt and grit out. Some people only use the white bottom part of the leek, but I used that and about 2-3 inches of the greens as well.
- In a large pot that will be able to hold all of the leeks add the butter and olive oil, Let heat up for about 3-5 minutes, then add the garlic (you can test out if it is hot enough by adding one little piece of the garlic, it should sizzle when you drop it in the pan). When you've added the garlic, cook until it just starts to turn brown, then immediately add the leeks and thyme. Cook leeks for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Right before you take it off the heat, add the chopped green onions.
- In a separate bowl add the cream cheese and half and half and combine. Add 1 cup of the cheddar (save ¼ cup for the topping) add ¼ cup Parmesan (save the other ¼ for top). Add about 1 tsp of salt and pepper, and then add the cayenne pepper (this will give it a little heat so you can add more or less as desired-I added probably about ¼ tsp and it was perfect!) Give everything in the bowl a nice stir.
- Add the leeks to the bowl containing the cream cheese and cheeses and combine. Then put in a baking dish and add the remaining cheeses to the top, and bake for 30 minutes. When done allow to cool for 10 minutes and then enjoy!
- For the Slow cooker version:
- Follow all the same steps as above, instead put in a slow cooker and cook for 1 hour at high, or 1.5 hours on low. Mine ended up sticking to the sides a bit forming a nice crunchy brown cheese, so if you don't want that stir a time or two while cooking
- I served mine with thinly sliced bread that I brushed with a mixture of olive oil and a few cloves of crushed garlic and then put on an aluminum foil baking sheet and baked with the leek bake for 10 minutes-also good with crackers