As B heads in to cooler weather, with a hearty and healthy soup in hand, we are heading in to spring and warmer days. I am saying that out loud, willing it to happen faster.
You may have noticed already that I love onions, but have I mentioned my love of leeks before? I have been using them as an mellow alternative to onions for years, but never before as a side dish on their own. Braised leeks sounded good, and then I saw the other ingredients… I am not sure you could ever go wrong with a combination of butter, garlic, lemon and white wine. This is based on a Jamie Oliver recipe.
So if you are looking for a slow cooked side dish to go with pretty much any simple meat, for something to load on top of pasta, or even risotto, this is great. What brings this one to life for me, is the lemon. And I loved it when I had it again the next day and the lemon rind had infused even further.
What you will need…
Leeks, garlic, lemon, butter, wine, chicken stock, salt and pepper.
I cut the white part of the leek from the green, and sliced down to the centre of the green section, and rinsed it well in running water to clean it of any grit. The green part I sliced finely, along with the garlic.
Add them to the melted butter in a pan on the stove on low heat, and cook until the garlic is transparent, but not brown. This will flavour the butter nicely.
I then stripped two or three layers from the white section of the leek, and cut them in to pieces of around half an inch long. I added them to the rest of the leek, and mixed it through.
At this stage, if your stove top pan is not able to go in to the oven, you could transfer it all to a baking dish. I gave the lemon a squeeze over the pot before plonking it in skin and all, then added the stock, wine, a grind of pepper and a pinch of salt.
I put the pot in to the oven, uncovered, at 175C/340F and gave it a stir every 30 minutes or so. I cooked it for 90 minutes. I think it is quite forgiving and you could even cook it longer if you wanted.
It is both rich and vibrant to taste. Also kind of pretty. I love the way the hearts look amongst the green slices.
I served it with some chicken breast cooked in a pan with some olive oil and pepper, and steamed some Kipfler potatoes. But honestly, I think these leeks would go with so many things as a side dish, or topping.
Braised Leeks with Garlic and White Wine
4 large leeks
8 cloves garlic, finely sliced
120g butter (6Tbs)
1 cup chicken stock (homemade would be ideal)
1.5 cups dry white wine
2 lemon quarters
Salt and pepper for seasoning
Prepare the leeks by cutting the white bulb from the green leaves. Slice down in to the green leaves, so they open up flat, and rinse well under running water. Slice these leaves up finely. Peel the top two or thee layers from the white bulb sections, and slice in to pieces, mine were around half an inch long.
In a pan, melt the butter and add the green sliced leeks, and the garlic, and cook slowly over a low heat. When the garlic is transparent and aromatic, add the remaining leek and mix well through the butter.
If you are using a pan that cannot be placed in an oven, at this stage transfer the mix in to a baking dish. Add the the remaining ingredients, stir and then bake in a 175C/340F oven for around 90 minutes, stirring every half hour. Turn down the heat if the leeks are browning too much.
Serve with your choice of meats, pasta or risotto.
What a treat. I ate this with a friend before we went out to a comedy show the other night, and the whole drive there she kept punctuating the conversation with “Those leeks were so good. Leeks. Oh… those leeks!” I think she liked them.
It’s over to you Autumn bound B!