Grilled leek and braised onion “poutine”

"This dish is a play on poutine, a popular fries, gravy and cheese-curd dish originating in Quebec," says Garratt. "We've flipped it around to highlight a few humble but essential building blocks of the French culinary repertoire: leek, onion and cheese. The cheese 'fries' are a bit of fun and tick the box for a fried component in the dish. Any hard-cooked curd-style cheese would suit this application - Gruyère, Comté, L'Etivaz, even cheddar."

You'll need

16 young leeks (2cm thick) 35 ml olive oil 2 onions, unpeeled 250 ml brown veal stock 100 gm veal bone marrow, sliced 200 gm Gruyère or cheddar, cut into 1cm cubes For coating: seasoned plain flour 1 egg, whisked with 75ml pouring cream 150 gm fine dry breadcrumbs For deep-frying: vegetable oil To serve: piment d’Espelette (see note)


  • 01
  • Preheat oven to 220C. Trim leeks, leaving 2cm of green and wash well. Place leeks side by side in a deep-sided frying pan, cover with water (about 1 litre), drizzle over 1 tbsp olive oil, season to taste, bring to the simmer and poach over low heat until tender (10-12 minutes). Remove from liquid, drain, halve crossways and set aside.
  • 02
  • Meanwhile, halve onion root to tip, place cut-side down on a baking tray lined with lightly oiled baking paper and bake until flat surface is golden (15-20 minutes). Transfer to a saucepan, just cover with veal stock, season to taste and simmer over medium heat until onions are tender, adding bone marrow in the last 2 minutes (30-40 minutes). Set aside in cooking liquid and keep warm.
  • 03
  • Place seasoned flour, egg mixture and breadcrumbs in separate bowls. Working with a cube of cheese at a time, coat with flour, then dip into egg mixture and finally coat with breadcrumbs, shake off excess then set aside on a plate ready for frying.
  • 04
  • Heat char-grill or barbecue over medium-high heat, lightly oil poached leeks with remaining olive oil and grill, turning occasionally, to char (5-7 minutes).
  • 05
  • Meanwhile, remove all but 20ml cooking liquid from onion mixture and reduce in a separate saucepan over high heat to a thick gravy consistency (2-3 minutes).
  • 06
  • Heat vegetable oil in a deep-fryer to 180C. Deep-fry cheese cubes in batches until golden (1-2 minutes, take care, hot oil may spit). Drain on absorbent paper.
  • 07
  • To serve, arrange onions and leeks on plates with bone marrow, pour gravy over, scatter cheese cubes over and season to taste with piment d’Espelette.

Note Piment d'Espelette is French dried, flaked chilli and is available from

At A Glance

  • Serves 4 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 4 people

Drink Suggestion

2012 Francois Cotat Sancerre “Caillottes” Sauvignon Blanc.

Featured in

Oct 2013

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