Cheesy leeks on toast

‘Cheesy leeks on toast?! What on earth are you thinking woman?!’ I hear you say.
No I know, sounds weird but actually it’s very tasty and one of my favourite lunches now. The soft tangle of leeks enveloped in cheesy b├ęchamel sauce and then grilled on top of some really crusty bread. I suppose it’s a sort of rarebit, though not done traditionally as this is a sort of b├ęchamel and I don’t use ale or the Caerphilly cheese. How does a Welshman eat cheese? Caerphilly…
God, sorry about that. That really was dreadful. But anyway, I suppose there are all sort of rarebit variations. I first came across this recipe in River Cottage Veg though Hugh uses cream in that and I didn’t happen to have cream in on this particular day so I improvised and here we are.
There is something very comforting about this and I daresay it would also be really very nice with some cooked bacon or chunks of gammon through it too. This probably makes enough for two for lunch, though it’s hard to say because I spoon in great mouthfuls of the mixture as i’m waiting for the toast. I imagine it would be rather nice as a sauce for macaroni too, a sort of leeky maccy cheese (as we call Mac ‘n’ cheese in our house). Use any hard cheese you have, I used a mixture of cheddar and parmesan but certainly you could use Caerphilly, just do think about it carefully. Sorry.


2 x leeks (the white part and the light green part) sliced into thin rounds
50g butter
50g plain flour
1/2 tsp dried thyme
300ml milk
60g cheese grated
Salt and pepper
Some really good bread, sourdough or other but NOT pappy sliced bread


Melt the butter, add the leeks and sweat over a low heat for about ten minutes until soft.
Add the dried thyme and stir through.
Add the flour and coat the leeks.
Add the milk bit by bit until absorbed, I added it in about three pours.
Cook over a low heat until the mix has thickened.
Add salt and pepper.
Add the cheese (and ham if using) and allow to melt into the sauce.
Toast your slices of bread.
Top the bread with a generous dollop of the mixture and put under the grill until browned.
Allow to cool for a few minutes if you value that bit of skin behind your two front teeth. Mine has now healed; the cost of greed!

But will the kids eat it?
God no, it’s vegetable based. Are you joking?

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