Bacon and leek pie
I found the base of this recipe in one of my many cook books – The National Trusts Great British Vegetable Cookbook by Sybil Kapoor. It has loads of recipes that I have marked to try ; stir fried cabbage with pork balls; stuffed parathas; mushroom flan and carrot and cardamom cake to name a few
I have tweaked it rather to frugalise it. I used oil pastry rather than butter shortcrust. Whole eggs replaced egg yolks, I can’t be doing with parts of eggs in the fridge. There was creme fraiche in the fridge so I used that, but cream is cheaper so have used that in the recipe. And of course I used cooking bacon instead of rather more expensive rashers
The amount of mix also made rather too much, overflowing the dish and leaving enough to make a small crumble. So I’ve adjusted the quantities as well.
I cut up the bacon into pieces the size of a stamp and fried them. You may prefer to grill it, in which case cut the bacon up after it has cooked, make sure to keep all the flavoursome juices and add them to the cooked leeks.
I had creme fraiche in the fridge, so I used that, but any creamy item would work here. So you could use double cream, maybe single cream to reduce the fat, although I haven’t tried it; I would also use soft cream cheese. Thick Greek yogurt would work too, bringing it’s own tang to the pie.
The amount of mustard suggested does give a lovely flavour, and you know it’s there. But if you don’t like mustard, just leave it out, it will still taste good.
The amount of bacon and leeks isn’t critical, so if what you have is a bit more or less, it will be fine.
I have specified large eggs, because that is what I buy and use, but medium will work too. Add another medium one if you like, again, the amount of egg isn’t critical.
Bacon and leek recipes
Make a double or even triple batch of the leek and bacon pie mix and you can tuck a couple of ready meals away for another week – a crumble and / or a pasta bake.
Or freeze the actual mix itself and use it to make the crumble or pasta bake or as a baked potato topping. So you would just need to pop the spuds in the oven or microwave and defrost the topping for a pretty effort free dinner. Or defrost the mix, pop it into a dish and top with crumble or mix with cooked pasta
If you haven’t discovered cooking bacon, it is sold in most supermarkets and is extremely cheap compared to rashers. Available in packs of 600-800g usually, it consists of scraps of bacon from the end of a joint that’s been carved. You will get lumps in there, sometimes a rasher or two and sometimes pieces that will need to be bashed flat or used whole in casseroles. For any recipes using bacon it’s perfect, save those more expensive rashers for when you really want rashers
Leeks are a member of the onion family. The edible part of the leek plant is a long cylinder of bundled leaf sheaths called a stem or stalk. As the leek plant grows in height, soil is pulled around the base of the plant, blanching the stem – making it white and tender. Many people only use the white parts, but the green parts are edible as well and if your leeks have come from the shop with dark parts, you have paid for that, so it would be a good idea to use it if you can. The darker the green parts, the stronger the flavour and more robust the leaf structure, so use in casseroles or something where they will be well softened. I often use them in curries where there strong flavour doesn’t dominate.
If you grow leeks, you will be familiar with the darker parts of the plant
Leek and bacon crumble
When I first made this recipe, although the quantities were supposed to be for a 20cm tin, there was quite a bit too much. So I put the remaining mix in a small dish and topped it with crumble. You could of course, dispense with the pastry altogether and go straight to the crumble which I am definitely adding to my meal plan
Leek and bacon pasta bake
If I hadn’t used that extra mix for a crumble, I would have cooked some pasta and made a leek and bacon pasta bake with it. I may very well do that the next time I make it. Grated cheese on top would work well here. I would use a good strong cheddar, but equally, a blue cheese or a mozzarella ball cut into lumps would bring their own pleasures to a pasta bake
Other recipes using leeks
Other recipes using bacon
- 200 g flour self raising
- 100 ml oil or 50g NB oil does not weigh the same in ml and grams
- 70 ml cool water or up to 100ml, you may not need it all
- 150 g bacon
- 300 g leeks
- 2 tblsp oil
- 2 large eggs
- 150 g double cream heavy cream
- 1.5 tblsp grainy mustard optional
- Put the flour and oil into a mixing bowl
- Add the water. You may need a little more or a little less depending in the flour, they are all different
- Stir gently until amalgamated to make the pastry
- Use two thirds of the pastry to roll out to fit your flan tin
- Slice the leeks down the middle
- Pile into a bowl and wash in plenty of water to remove any grit
- Drain well and slice the leeks
- Cut the bacon into small pieces and fry until crispy. You may prefer to grill it. If so, grill as whole rashers / pieces and cut up once cooked. Retain all the juices and tip into the cooked leeks as extra flavour.
- Tip the drained leeks into the same pan and cook gently until the leeks are well wilted and almost cooked through. If you have grilled your bacon, ensure there is a little water in the pan to cook the leeks in.
- Tip into a mixing bowl. If there is quite a lot of liquid in the pan, use a sieve to drain the mix and tip the liquid back into the pan to reduce down.
- When sufficiently reduced, tip the bacon and leek mix back into the pan, mix in the remaining reduced liquid, then back into the bowl.
- Leave to cool
- Add the beaten eggs, double (heavy) cream and mustard if using to the bacon and leek mixture.
- Stir very well and pile into pastry case, leaving a tblsp of sauce in the bowl
- Roll out the remaining third of pastry and top your pie with it. Tuck in all the edges. Use a pastry brush to paste over the top using the last tblsp of sauce mixture. Cut a steam hole in the top of your pie
- Bake at 180°C Fan / 200°C / 400°F / Gas Mark 6 for about 30 minutes until the filling is cooked through and firm
- Enjoy hot from the oven, or cold
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Take care of your family and your budget
Before putting together the meal planners, Lesley surveyed what was needed. Of the existing 14 budget meal plans, most are cheap meals for 2 people so can be sized up or down. Others are cheap family meals for 4 people, or meals for one