Leek, cider and chestnut crumble


This mouth-watering dish is for dinner at home on Christmas Eve, aiming to please a group of fussy palates.  Leeks, cider, chestnuts and a cheesy crumbly topping… yeah!  We’ll have it with garlicky kale and some roasted carrots.

Recipe by Kathy Slack from The Veg Patch and found on the fab site The Happy Foodie.

Serves 4 as a side – be sure to increase the quantities if you want serve it as the main attraction, as I do.


  • 25g butter
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • ½ tbsp chopped thyme leaves
  • 500ml dry cider
  • 450g leeks, trimmed, washed and cut into 3cm thick rounds
  • 100g plain wholemeal flour
  • 30g jumbo oats
  • 50g butter, cold and cubed
  • 50g cheddar cheese, grated
  • 100g vacuum-packed ready-to-use chestnuts, roughly chopped


  1. Preheat the oven to 210°C/190°C fan/gas mark 6½.
  2. Melt the butter in a saucepan over a low heat. Add the garlic and thyme and cook gently for 2–3 minutes. Don’t let the garlic brown – just allow it to soften.
  3. Pour in the cider, bring to the boil and bubble for 3 minutes to burn off the alcohol and reduce a little.
  4. Meanwhile, arrange the leeks in a single layer, cut-side up, in an ovenproof dish measuring 20 × 20cm. Really pack them in, leaving as few gaps as possible. You might need to rearrange smaller leeks here and there to plug any gaps, like a leek jigsaw.
  5. Pour the cidery liquid over the leeks and transfer to the oven to bake for 35 minutes while you get on with the crumble.
  6. Combine the flour and oats in a mixing bowl. Add the cubes of butter and rub them into the flour with your fingers. Think light and swift: you will end up with a few dabs of butter here and there, but it should be mostly mixed in to make a floury rubble.
  7. Add the cheddar and chestnuts, along with a big pinch of salt and mix everything together.
  8. Once the cooking time is up on the leeks they should be soft, but not dissolving, and swimming in a rich juice (it will look like there’s too much juice, but there isn’t). Remove the dish from the oven.
  9. Pile the crumble evenly on top, then bake for another 35 minutes, by which time the crumble will be golden and crunchy on top and bubbling temptingly at the edges. Remove from the oven, tuck in and enjoy.