Leek and Bacon Tart (The River Cottage Year, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall)

Finally, after a January that I’m just trying not to think too much about (following a December that wasn’t so fabulous either) we start in on my cookbook project. I’m trying to start with the cookbooks that I really have never used straight for recipes—usually just for inspiration.

Thus, we start with Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s “The River Cottage Year” that I was given a few years ago by percible. The focus of the book was a year of eating seasonally in southern England and was part of my jumpstart into the year where I scared myself sustainable on the food front by reading lots of things like this and anything by Michael Pollan. My hierarchy of food purchasing and eating likely sounds silly when explained (much like my preferred technique for eating cupcakes), so we’ll skip that, note that it eating seasonally/locally is a larger part of it than eating organic, and get on with the recipe. I’ve not translated measurements, but did translate temperatures, which requires less math.

If I lived in the south of England, this is apparently seasonally appropriate for November. My leeks came from the nice people at Ralph’s Greenhouse in Mount Vernon though, so I’m assuming they’re not secretly shipping them in from Bolivia instead of growing them.

Bacon and Leek Tart

Enough savory shortcrust pastry to line a 20-23cm tart tin (I used my regular pie crust, I’m honestly not a fan of the texture of British shortcrust pastry.)

50 g butter
1 T olive oil
1 kg leeks
125 g lightly fried, roughly chopped pancetta
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 tsp nutmeg
3 egg yolks
200 ml double cream (virtually impossible to get here in the grocery store, I just used heavy cream)
100 g gruyere cheese

Press pastry into tart tin, line with parchment paper, and blind bake with beans or pie weights for about 15 minutes at 400° F. Then remove the weights and bake for another 5 minutes.

Heat butter and olive oil in large pan and add the leeks. Cook gently, tossing or stirring regularly for about half an hour. Remove from heat and season with salt, pepper and nutmeg.

Beat together egg yolks and cream, grate cheese and combine cheese, onions and egg mixture. Sprinkle pancetta into pastry, then spread egg, onion, and cheese mixture into pastry and bake in 375° F oven until filling is lightly puffed and golden.