Well, here's a change from the normal routine, but I thought you might like a recipe for a side dish that is simple and always totally impresses people. Plus, you can serve it as a the vegetarian option if you use a cheese other than parmesan (which contains rennet so it isn't vegetarian...although whether your veggie guests eat parmesan or not depends on how 'true' to the cause they are. Some do. Just check first, ok?)
Leek and butterbean bake with parmesan cream. (serves 4 as a side dish)
You will need 3 leeks, washed really well and sliced into circles about 3/4 inch thick.
A clove of garlic, crushed
A knob of butter and a glug of olive oil, melted together in a heavy based frying pan or skillet that has a lid (mixing the butter with oil helps prevent the leeks burning and tasting nasty)
A small pot of double cream (heavy cream in the US, I think? The kind you would pour on your pie - thick but still runny.)
A 400g can of butterbeans (or a half cup of dried butterbeans, soaked overnight)
Handful of finely grated parmesan (or another sharp, hard cheese)
Sweat the leeks and garlic in the skillet, covered, and on a low heat until soft. Around 10 or 15 minutes. Totally don't rush this bit, because you'll burn the leeks and then they taste really awful. You want them soft, but not browned in any way. Stir frequently and if the oil/butter is bubbling too much turn the heat right down.
Add the butterbeans and the cream. You want enough cream to make a sauce, but not so much that the mixture is swimming. Heat through gently, but do not boil.
Transfer to an oven proof dish and sprinkle the cheese over the top.
Pop in the oven on a medium to high heat until the cheese has browned and the cream bubbles.
And that's it.
12 minutes ago