This is not the ordinary, heavy creamy type of potato gratin. This is in between a gratin and a curry. As peculiar as it sounds, this dish is definitely worth trying, it is not only a delight to eat but it is just so easy to make. The sauce is made of coconut milk, curry powder and cayenne pepper, therefore it is light, with a subtle spicy taste to it. What I like about this dish is that it is full of flavours and textures; the leek is sautéed slowly and patiently to develop its sweetness, and then cooked in coconut milk and curry, as well as smoked chorizo. The softness of the cooked leek contrasts beautifully with the firmness of the waxy potato, which has unapologetically soaked up all the lovely flavours from the sauce. Finally, the squeaky baked mozzarella provides yet another curious layer of texture to the whole dish.
The sauce is considerably thinner than the usual gratin sauce, but it appeals to me that this consistence is in fact what makes this dish a perfect companion for a simple fish or meat dishes. (Although I have eaten this on its own but it was equally delicious and satisfying). I can imagine serving this warm, slightly spicy sauce alongside the slow-roasted turkey on Christmas day, just glorious.
Chorizo, Leek and Potato Gratin
- 30g smoked chorizo, finely sliced
- 1 large leek, trimmed (discard the green part or save it for stock) and sliced
- 500g waxy potato, thinly sliced
- 200ml coconut milk
- 200ml vegetable or chicken stock
- 1 tsp. mild curry powder
- 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
- Vegetable oil
- Grated mozzarella cheese (or other gratin cheese)
Preheat oven at 200 degrees Celsius.
Heat a cast iron pan (or any other pan and then transfer the contents into an oven-proof dish) and a tablespoon of vegetable oil on medium heat. Add chorizo and fry for about a minute or until the chorizo turns crispy and releases it’s paprika oil. Remove the chorizo and set aside.
In the same pan, saute leeks with a pinch of sea salt, for about 5 minutes or until the leeks start to soften. Add curry powder, cayenne pepper and stir for a minute. Add coconut milk, stock and bring to boil. Tip in the chorizo and turn the heat down, let everything simmers for about 5 minutes. Season with salt if needed. Remove from heat.
Transfer 2/3 of the contents from the pan to a bowl and start to layer the potato slices on the remaining 1/3 of the vegetables and sauce in the pan. Then potato slices again and then sauce until you finish with potato as the last layer (it should make 3 layers of potato), then covered with foil, bake in the oven for about 35-40 minutes or until the potatoes are cooked through. Remove the pan from the oven and turn the oven function to grill setting.
Remove the foil and scatter the grated cheese generously on top of the potatoes, put it under the grill for about 3-4 minutes or until the cheese is bubbling and takes on a golden brown colour. Remove from the grill.
Served warm as a side to a fish or meat dish. It is also delicious served just on its own.