A perfect recipe for those cold winter nights, or days or whenever you feel like it!
This recipe was inspired by an amazing meal I had a few years back, when I went to a skiing trip in the South Tyrol region of northern Italy. After a whole morning walking around in the freezing cold and snow, we found a pop-up food stand that was selling jacket potatoes with a choice of different fillings. However, their leek and “Speck” (aka smoked forest ham) filling seemed to be their most popular. So, I gave it a go and my oh my, was that delicious!!! I don’t have a good memory, but that dish certainly didn’t leave my mind.
Here it is, my own healthier version, that doesn’t give up the full original flavour and it’s full of goodness! A soft jacket potato, filled with leeks, bacon and rosemary and topped with a dollop of fromage frais to give a boost of protein and balance the saltiness of the bacon. Sounds good, doesn’t it? Wait till you try it after a whole day in the freezing cold. We are talking proper comfort food here but without all the fat and unhealthy stuff!
It’s quite a relatively quick and simple recipe to make, the potatoes, however, take a long time to bake, but that doesn’t mean you have to be locked in the kitchen, rinse the potatoes, pat them dry, wrap them in foil, put them in the oven et voilà, you are free to do whatever you like for nearly an hour! 🙂 After 45 minutes that the potatoes have been cooking, you can start prepare the filling. This is what it should look like:
Once the potatoes are soft and cooked, cut them in half, top with the filling and a spoonful of fromage frais and enjoy!
Now, let’s talk about the fromage frais, it sounds too complicated, is there anything more simple and easy to find? Well, the fromage frais can usually be found next to all the other tubs of yogurts in any supermarket. The original dish I had, used sour cream, but that’s not so healthy and I decided to substitute it with a lower-calorie and higher protein version. Fromage frais has an incredibly high amount of protein (8g per 100g, as compared to most plain yogurts and greek-style yogurts that only have around 3g). And it’s fat-free, bonus!! If all you have available is plain yogurt or greek yogurt, you can use that instead, or for a dairy-free option omit completely and drizzle a little bit extra olive oil on top.
Thanks to the leeks and the potatoes, this dish will supply a good amount of vitamin C, which we all need during these wintery months to boost our immune system a bit, right? Leeks are also a good source of vitamin A, minerals and antioxidant polyphenols (bye bye free radicals and hello young looking skin!).
If you have some white wine hanging around, I would suggest you add half a glass to the bacon and leeks mix while they are cooking, it brings out a whole new flavour! But, don’t worry if you don’t have any, this dish tastes delicious as it is!
Ingredients (Serves 4)
- 180g bacon, fat trimmed and chopped into cubes
- 500g leeks
- 4 baking potatoes (or any other kind)
- 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 4 Tbsp fromage frais (or greek yogurt or plain yogurt, omit for a dairy-free meal)
- a few sprigs of rosemary
- Salt and Pepper
- 50ml white wine (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 6.
- Wash the potatoes, pat them dry, prick them with a fork and season to taste. Wrap them in aluminium foil and place on a baking tray. Bake in the oven for about 60-70 minutes, depending on the size of the potatoes it could take longer or less.
- Go and relax for 45 minutes, or take a shower or read a book, just enjoy yourself, the potatoes can take care of themselves at this stage.
- 45 minutes after the potatoes have been baking you can start making the filling.
- Wash the leeks and chop them thinly (you should have around 300g of washed and chopped leeks after you discard the trimmings and the ends). Set aside.
- Trim the bacon from all visible fat and chop into small cubes or strips (you should have around 180g trimmed and chopped bacon).
- In a large frying pan heat 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil and add the 2 cloves of garlic and the bacon, let it fry for 5 minutes, then add the leeks and the rosemary and season to taste with some salt and pepper. The bacon is already quite salty, so personally I would go very easy on the salt or omit completely. If you are using the white wine, add it a couple of minutes after adding the leeks. Cook for a further 10 minutes until the leeks are soft and cooked.
- Once the potatoes are soft, take them out of the oven, cut them in half and top with the leeks and bacon filling.
- Serve with a spoonful of fromage frais on top and enjoy!