Checking the list of food in season on the BBC website I was somewhat surprised to discover just how few veggies are in season in March. Two which are are potatoes and leeks which prompted me to try this variation on a vegetarian cottage pie:
Prepare: 30 mins
Cook: 30 mins
25g plain flour
pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
freshly ground black pepper
50g Cheddar cheese, grated
butter, for greasing
3 saucepans, greased 1 litre ovenproof dish, baking sheet, colander
Heat the oven to 190°C (375°F) Gas 5.
Cook the potatoes in boiling salted water for about 20 - 25 minutes
or until tender.
Trim the leeks, discarding most of the dark green part.
Slice thickly and wash under cold running water until completely clean.
Cook in boiling salted water for 8-10 minutes or until almost tender.
Drain thoroughly, reserving the stock.
While the vegetables are cooking, make the sauce: melt 25g of butter gently in a small
saucepan, sprinkle in the flour and stir over low heat for 2 minutes until it forms a
Remove from the heat and gradually stir in all but 2 tablespoons of the milk, then return
to the heat and simmer, stirring, until thick and smooth.
Measure out 150ml of the leek stock; stir gradually into white sauce.
Bring back to the boil, stirring constantly, then add the nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste.
Remove the pan from the heat.
Slice one-third of the potatoes, stir them gently into the leeks and turn into the base of a
greased 1L ovenproof dish. Pour on the sauce; carefully turn vegetables with a fork, to
Add remaining butter and milk to the rest of the potatoes, season with pepper, then mash
them until smooth. Beat in half the cheese with a wooden spoon. Taste and adjust
Spread the mashed potato over the vegetables, then sprinkle on the rest of the cheese.
Stand the dish on a baking sheet and bake in the oven for 20 - 25 minutes, or until the
topping is golden brown.