This is a classic oven-baked dish made with cream, cheese, leeks and ham is absolutely delicious. Try and use a good thick ham like Wiltshire and serve plenty of crusty bread to mop up the sauce.


  • 50g/2oz butter plus extra for greasing

  • 550 g/1lb 4oz leeks small, cut into chunks on the angle

  • 350 g/12oz good ham, torn into chunky lengths

  • 200 g/8oz mature Cheddar, finely grated

  • 6 tablespoons double cream

  • 2 teaspoons English mustard

  • 1 tsp white pepper

  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper


  • 1.

    Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6/fan oven 180C.

  • 2.

    Wash the leeks really well, you want a little of the water to cook them in, so they don’t need to be thoroughly drained.

  • 3.

    Melt the butter in a sauté pan with a lid. Add the leeks and season generously with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Stir really well and then cover and cook over maximum heat for two minutes.

  • 4.

    Stir well, and cover again, giving the pan a good shake. Cook for another two to three minutes, then remove from the heat. Place in a sieve over a bowl and allow to any excess water to drain off.

  • 5.

    Scatter a third of the leek mixture in an even layer in the bottom of a buttered ovenproof dish that is about 25 cm/10inch in diameter. Sprinkle half the ham on top and then add another third of the leeks. Repeat until all the ingredients are used up, finishing with a layer of leeks.

  • 6.

    Place the Cheddar in a bowl and fold in the cream and mustard, then season with the remaining pepper. Spread over the cabbage in an even layer and bake for 15-20 minutes until bubbling and golden brown. Serve straight on to the table with really crusty bread.

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