My Scots-Irish grandmother would often serve roast beef for a big Sunday lunch. The smell of the house as the roast was cooking was so enticing—and it smelled even more divine on the days that she decided to serve her wonderful creamed onions as one of her side dishes. This recipe is an updated version, substituting the milder leek for the tiny white onions she used to use straight from her huge kitchen garden. It’s the perfect complement to a comforting meal on a blustery winter day, or any day when you need just a touch of the Irish.
4 large or 8 small leeks
1 ½ cups milk
8 slices bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 cup cream
½ teaspoon dry mustard
1 cup white cheddar cheese (I used an aged Irish cheddar)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Cut the dark green ends from the leeks, leaving only the white and light green parts. Wash and slice the leeks in half and then slice the halves into ½ inch pieces.
Put the leeks in a saucepan. Add the milk and bring the mixture to a boil. Lower the heat and then simmer gently for 20 minutes. Drain the leeks and reserve the milk. Put the leeks into a small glass or ceramic baking dish.
Cook the bacon until crisp, remove from the pan and drain on paper towels. Sprinkle the bacon over the leeks. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, cream, dry mustard and reserved milk. Pour the mixture over the leeks. Sprinkle the grated cheese evenly over the top.
Bake in the oven for 20 minutes. Change the oven setting to broil and finish the dish by broiling it for a minute or two until the top is nicely browned.