Baked Leeks with Creamy Cheese Sauce Skip to content

Leeks with Creamy Cheese Sauce

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter a medium-sized oven-safe casserole, quiche or baking dish.
  2. Trim ends and greens away from leek. Divide leeks in half lengthwise. Rinse under cool running water to remove sand and silt.
  3. Steam leeks: Place strainer or steamer insert into medium-sized pot filled with 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil. Carefully place leeks onto steamer, cover and steam for 5 minutes. Drain and remove steamed leeks to a plate to cool.
  4. Prepare cheese sauce: In a medium saucepan, melt butter over moderate-high heat. Add the shallots and cook until soft and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Toss with flour and cook for 1 minute more. Add the creams, whisking to remove lumps and to thicken. Add Gruyère and stir to dissolve. Season with salt, pepper and a dash of nutmeg. Leave on low simmer.
  5. Assemble topping: Place breadcrumbs and Parmesan in a small bowl and toss to combine.
  6. Assemble dish: With an eye towards an attractive presentation, arrange steamed leeks in baking dish and pour hot cheese sauce over top. Sprinkle with breadcrumb mixture and black pepper.
  7. Transfer to oven and bake for 30 minutes, or until top is bubbling and breadcrumbs are golden.
  8. Cool for 5 minutes then, serve immediately.
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Leeks with Creamy Cheese Sauce

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Steamed leeks covered in a creamy shallot-flavoured Gruyère cheese sauce, then sprinkled with breadcrumbs and Parmesan before going in the oven…

  • clock icon
    40 MIN
  • 6 SERVINGS
Leeks with Creamy Cheese Sauce

LEEKS WITH CREAMY CHEESE SAUCE is the next side dish you just gotta make (and I mean it!)

This incredibly delicious side dish goes by a bunch of different names. Fancy folks call it “leeks au gratin” or “leeks Mornay”, while others affectionately present it to friends and family just as “cheese leeks” or “leeks in a white sauce”. We’re calling ours LEEKS WITH CREAMY CHEESE SAUCE. Call it any of the above, just don’t call me late to dinner when it’s being served!

Before going through some of our helpful tips, here’s a quick question and answer:

Q: Leeks are a vegetable I don’t often use. Are they difficult to work with?

A: Actually they’re not. One thing to remember is to always trim, cut and rinse your leeks to remove any sand or silt before preparing them. 

Q: Do leeks taste like onions?

A: Yes, leeks are ALLIUMS, so they’re related to garlic, chives, shallots, and onions. They have a sweet oniony flavour with no lingering aftertaste.

Q: Can this dish be made in advance?

A: Absolutely! We suggest steaming the leeks, preparing the sauce and assembling everything in the buttered baking dish. Then just cover and place in the fridge. When you’re ready to prepare it, simply add the cheesy breadcrumbs and bake. Works like a charm!

Ready to make LEEKS WITH CREAMY CHEESE SAUCE?

The ingredients you'll need to make Leeks in Creamy Cheese Sauce.
Readily available ingredients is all you need to make this delicious side dish.

INGREDIENTS

When you make this cheesy leeks recipe, you’ll immediately understand how it exceeds all expectations. This is accomplished by a perfect combination of ingredients. Creating a dish where one vegetable is prominently featured, in this case leeks, allows for more pronounced flavours. Pairing the leeks with a simple creamy cheese sauce and subtle breadcrumb topping makes for stellar results using relatively few ingredients. This recipe really works on so many levels.

Assorted casserole and fluted oven-safe tart dishes
Use an oven-safe baking dish. Make it beautiful!

BAKING DISH

I’ll come clean and confess that I bought two new baking dishes for this story. Although I could have used a basic glass casserole or a simple white oven-safe crock, I wanted to elevate the presentation as I was serving it to company. I do think this dish should go from the oven directly to the table for serving – it’s so beautiful when the creamy cheese sauce is bubbling! Here’s your call to invest in a beautiful dish for this and other recipes. I’ve provided a link to purchase down below (hint!). You deserve it.

Gruyère and Parmesan cheese
When it comes to cheese, don’t forget, more is more!

CHEESE

If a gorgeous hunk of Gruyère ever asked, “Nik, why do you love me so?”, I’d answer, “Have you got a couple of hours?” Seriously, if you’ve never tried GRUYÈRE, it’s time. Classified as a Swiss-type or Alpine cheese, it is made from cow’s milk and has a sweet but slightly salty flavour with a pleasing nuttiness that blooms when the cheese is heated. We’ve used it in our CLASSIC FRENCH ONION SOUP, this CROQUE MONSIEUR SANDWICH and our HAM AND CHEESE FRITTATA. Pairing it with Parmesan in this recipe gives the leeks just the right hint of salty nuttiness. Of course, you can try other varieties of cheese, but we suggest staying away from cheddar cheese as it’s too oily.

Leeks and shallots
Leeks and shallots impart a sweet oniony flavour to the dish.

ALLIUM IN THE FAMILY

Although we considered using onions and garlic for this recipe, we instead went with the milder flavour of leeks and shallots. Even though they’re all members of the allium family, it was important to pair the leeks with a cousin that imparts a similarly mild and somewhat sweeter flavour. Shallots fit the bill perfectly.

Steamed leeks cooling before being layered in the casserole dish
Steaming the leeks before the bake softens them perfectly.

STEAMY

The recipe was tested with us steaming the leeks for 5, 10 and 15 minutes. We went with five minutes because we found the steamed veggie had more bite and flavour. That said, if you prefer more tender leeks, simply steam them for 10 minutes total, then proceed.

The leeks are layered in a casserole dish then covered in the creamy cheese sauce
Add the cheesy breadcrumbs right before transferring the dish to the oven.

CREAMY

I expect a few of you might notice that I’m adding our famous MORNAY SAUCE to the casserole. Well, almost. It’s important that this dish be extra creamy, so we actually used more butter and replaced the milk with two types of cream. When making the sauce, don’t leave the saucepan until the sauce has thickened to prevent burning it. The result is a classic sauce that clings to the leeks when you spoon them onto dinner plates. Let’s not discuss calories or nutrition at this point. LEEKS WITH CREAMY CHEESE SAUCE is a bit of a splurge!

Leeks with Creamy Cheese Sauce
This delicious side dish goes perfectly with your favourite meat, poultry, seafood and vegetarian main courses.

SERVE

This simple, elegant side dish pairs perfectly with a number of our main courses like our STANDING RIB ROAST, our PORK TENDERLOIN, POT ROAST and our EASY ROAST CHICKEN. We do think it also has play for pretty much any holiday when served alongside potatoes. Keep it in mind if you need to change up Easter, Thanksgiving or Christmas; it’s amazing with BAKED HAM, ROASTED LEG OF LAMB or OVEN-ROASTED TURKEY.

LEEKS WITH CREAMY CHEESE SAUCE are deliciously creamy and cheesy! Bon appétit!

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Leeks with Creamy Cheese Sauce

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Leeks with Creamy Cheese Sauce

Ingredients

  • 3 leeks, trimmed, divided and rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon butter for the dish
  • For the sauce:
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • 2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup 10% cream
  • 1 cup 35% cream
  • 1 cup grated Gruyère
  • sprinkle kosher salt
  • sprinkle white pepper
  • sprinkle nutmeg (thyme will also work)
  • For the topping:
  • ¼ cup breadcrumbs (or Panko)
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan
  • sprinkle black pepper

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter a medium-sized oven-safe casserole, quiche or baking dish.
  2. Trim ends and greens away from leek. Divide leeks in half lengthwise. Rinse under cool running water to remove sand and silt.
  3. Steam leeks: Place strainer or steamer insert into medium-sized pot filled with 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil. Carefully place leeks onto steamer, cover and steam for 5 minutes. Drain and remove steamed leeks to a plate to cool.
  4. Prepare cheese sauce: In a medium saucepan, melt butter over moderate-high heat. Add the shallots and cook until soft and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Toss with flour and cook for 1 minute more. Add the creams, whisking to remove lumps and to thicken. Add Gruyère and stir to dissolve. Season with salt, pepper and a dash of nutmeg. Leave on low simmer.
  5. Assemble topping: Place breadcrumbs and Parmesan in a small bowl and toss to combine.
  6. Assemble dish: With an eye towards an attractive presentation, arrange steamed leeks in baking dish and pour hot cheese sauce over top. Sprinkle with breadcrumb mixture and black pepper.
  7. Transfer to oven and bake for 30 minutes, or until top is bubbling and breadcrumbs are golden.
  8. Cool for 5 minutes then, serve immediately.

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