leek and bacon black eyed bean bake


one dish dinners, what a joy! a single pot or pan to wash up and a mountain of delicious tasty food to tuck into. risotto is often my first choice when i want something simple, not least as i find it very soothing to make – it must be all that stirring!

however, dishes which can be assembled and then put in the oven and forgotten about are also a great option, and this creamy beany, bacon and leek bake is a particularly good example. based on a recipe i saw over at a forkful of spaghetti, this dish is full of flavour and the balance of creamy, cheesy richness with the healthiness of beans and green freshness of the leek is just perfect.

it also keeps really well – i ate leftovers a few days later (with extra cheese grated on top as we’d obviously eaten all of the original cheese in our first sitting!) and it was just as delicious.

this dish is my contribution to meeta’s monthly mingle which has the theme of one dish dinners this month.

leek and bacon black-eyed bean bake (serves 4)

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 large onion, cut into thick slices

2 leeks, cut into 1cm rings

8-12 smoked pancetta rashers, roughly chopped

1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves

700g cooked black-eyed beans (haricot would also be good)

300g crème fraiche

75g grated gruyere (any strongly flavoured cheese)

preheat the oven to 200c.

heat the olive oil in a large pan* and cook the onion and leeks until they soften and start to turn golden. add the pancetta and thyme and cook for a few minutes until the pancetta is cooked through. add the beans and crème fraiche and bring to the boil. remove from the heat, season and place in an oven-proof dish. sprinkle with the gruyere and cook until the top is browned and the bake is bubbling – around 30 minutes.

vegetarian option: use sliced chestnut mushrooms in stead of pancetta.

* if you want to take one dish cooking to limit, instead of a pan use a dish which you can use both on the hob and in the oven