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Braised leek with blue cheese crumb from The Joy of Better Cooking

Servings: 4
This feels like a super retro combo … because it IS! Leek, with its pungency and sweetness, really loves a bit of crumbly blue cheese action, and the sweet currants are like little pops of syrupy surprise, capped off with a crispy panko crumb. Here, most of the prep time is spent swanning past the oven, wafting the aromas towards your nostrils and rubbing your hands together with glee. The flavours will only intensify overnight, so it’s perfect for a lazy Saturday bake, with a luscious Sunday lunch finish. Bake the leek the day before, and the next day finish it off by adding the crumb, covering with foil and popping into a preheated 180°C (350°F) oven for 10 minutes, then removing the foil and exposing the crumb to the elements for the last 20 minutes to get some burnish. Leftovers will happily languish in the fridge for up to a week, so you really can’t go wrong with this dish. It will go gloriously as a side with fish or chicken, or stand on its own as a vego main.


  • 3 leeks about 750 g (1 lb 10 oz) in total
  • 1 cup chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 cup decent white wine if you can’t drink it, don’t cook with it
  • ½ cup currants
  • 10 thyme sprigs
  • 3 ½ oz butter
  • 2 tbsp snipped chives

Blue cheese crumb

  • 3 ½ oz of your favourite blue cheese crumbled
  • ¾ cup panko breadcrumbs
  • ½ cup finely chopped parsley
  • ½ tsp garlic powder optional, but excellent
  • 2 tbsp olive oil


  • Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F).
  • Meanwhile, remove the green tops from the leeks and cut the pale parts into 1.5 cm (⅝ inch) chubby discs. Soak the leeks in a salad spinner or bowl filled with cold water to get rid of any grit, then drain and spin, or wash them really well under the tap.
  • Snuggle the leek, cut side up, in a 20 x 30 cm (8 x 12 inch) baking dish. Add the stock, wine, currants and thyme. Dab the butter over the top, cover with foil and bake for 2 hours.
  • Combine the crumb ingredients in a bowl by stirring vigorously together with a spatula or wooden spoon. (You could also use your hands, if you’re a fan of finger-lickin-blue — but no more touching the mixture once any licking has ensued, of course!) You want to end up with a nice chunky crumb.
  • At the 2-hour mark, remove the dish from the oven. Flick off the foil, fish out the thyme stalks and submerge the currants into the braising juices. Sprinkle with the crumb and bake, uncovered, for a further 30 minutes, until the top is golden and the juices have reduced to a syrupy consistency.
  • Serve in the baking dish or a serving bowl, drizzled with the juices and sprinkled with snipped chives, salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper.



To go plant-based, use olive oil instead of butter. Instead of the blue cheese, finish with fried capers, or a herby almond picada.
For gluten-free, use rice crumbs instead of panko.
Slice the leeks into thin rounds to halve the braising time.
Recipe riffs
For a more substantial dish, add chunks of parboiled potato into the braising liquid at the 2-hour mark.

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