Sunday, March 06, 2011

Braised Leeks with Vinagrette

Braised leeks are one of my favorite side dishes to make to go with a rich, creamy dinner.  They are pretty simple to prepare but have a delicate, clean flavor that is perfect when you are looking for a side dish that will complement a subtle main dish, not overpower it.  I think I first had this dish, or something similar, when I was an exchange student in France in high school (and a vegetarian at that time too), and it was one of the few things they made that I could eat.  I started making them myself a few years ago and loved rediscovering the delicious flavor.

I have mentioned this recipe a number of times, from when I made butternut squash lasagne to when I made handmade ravioli for valentines day, but I have never shared the recipe.  I figured it was time to amend that situation and finally took pictures when I made them tonight!d  I also made pasta with a mushroom cream sauce but it didn't turn out as well as I remember it from the last time I made it, so I am going to try that recipe again before it makes an appearance here.

Braised Leeks with Vinagrette
Adapted from Deborah Madison's Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone
  • several sprigs of fresh parsley
  • several sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 2-3 dried bay leaves
  • 2 carrots, cut into pieces lengthwise
  • 1 or 2 celery stalks, cut into pieces lengthwise
  • 2-3 quarts of water
  • salt to taste
  • 4-6 large leeks, white parts only, cut down the middle lengthwise and cleaned well
  • vinagrette of your choice - I use a red wine vinagrette made with the Country French Vinagrette Herb mix from Penzey's
Fill a large dutch oven or pan with the water, herbs and vegetables other than the leeks and bring to a simmer.  Slip the leeks into the water and simmer for 15-25 minutes, until tender (you can check by poking with a fork or tip of a sharp knife).  Remove the leeks - I like to lift each one out with tongs and let it drip over the pan - and place in a shallow serving dish.  Drizzle with vinagrette and serve warm or at room temperature. I also find that the carrots and celery can be quite delicious too, so feel free to serve them too if you like.  Also, the cooking water can be strained and saved as a mild but delicious vegetable stock (will store indefinitely in freezer).

1 comment:

  1. Sounds good! I've got some leeks in the garden that I need to harvest - I'll probably be trying out this recipe soon!


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