Yesterday we started the 2016 garden lunch season. In the forenoon, I had been weeding spring weeds in the vegetable patches and lifted up the last leeks. In one of my gardening books, The deer-free garden (in Swedish: Den rådjursfria trädgården), leeks are listed as plants that deer steer clear of. My hopes were high, but it took only a few weeks after the first frost last autumn and the deer started to munch on my leeks. Either they were very hungry or illiterates because they didn’t care much about that deer-free plant list. I should be grateful for the help though, because the deer left the stems which gave the roots an extra boost – and we still had plenty of leeks to harvest.
Garden work makes hungry and for our lunch in the green we had a classic leek pie with walnuts, fresh herbs and potatoes. It is quickly put together (even quicker if you’d use a ready-made pie crust or pie dough), and this is what you need:
For the pie crust:
200 grams all-purpose flour
100 ml ice-cold water
75 grams chilled butter, in slices (and some extra for buttering the skillet or pie plate)
For the filling:
1 onion, finely chooped
1 large leek, around 300 – 400 grams, chopped into thin rounds
4 small potatoes, chopped into thin slices
a handful of chopped walnuts (optional)
1 tbsp lemon thyme (optional)
1 tbsp butter
4 organic eggs
200 ml cream
200 g grated cheese with a stronger flavour such as Gruyère or Swedish Prästost (vällagrad)
For the pie crust: Preheat the oven to 220°C. Combine the flour, salt and butter. Mix with a blender or a wooden spoon to coarse crumbs and gradually add the cold water. Blend well until the mixture forms a ball. [Note: it is often recommended to wrap the dough in plastic and to let it chill in the fridge for half an hours, I usually skip this step if we are very hungry]
Grease the pie plate and flour it. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface so that it fits your pie plate. Place it in the pie plate and press evenly in the bottom and sides of the form. Prick the bottom of pastry all over with a fork. Bake for ten minutes.
For the filling: Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir in the chopped onion and sauté until tender. Add potatoes and leek slices and cook until soft. Turn the heat down and season with salt and pepper. Add chopped walnuts and lemon thyme (optional). Mix eggs and cream and stir in the cheese. Add to the leeks and onions and stir well. Pour the cheese-vegetable mixture into the pie shell. Bake for another 30min.
We had our pie with fresh salad yesterday (I harvested the first corn salad and spinach leaves) together with last year’s elderflower cordial that gave us a foretaste of the warmer months. I can’t wait to spend our first real spring here at Björkåsa, without the stress of moving houses, without chaos and – most of all – with a kitchen garden that isn’t as overgrown as it was last year when we moved here.
But before I get too chatty here – have a lovely Sunday (I am off to weed the vegetable patches) ;-)