This time of winter we are looking for easy, delicious, yet not-too-heavy comfort food. Comfort food is often rich and heavy, but we think that these silky braised leeks are comforting yet light.
Leeks are an aromatic like the onions, celery, and carrots of mirepoix, but they can also be a main dish in their own right. We ripped this (very basic) recipe off Jamie Oliver and added our own small touches.
The nice thing about these leeks is that they are very flexible. No chicken stock? Use vegetable broth instead. No garlic? Use a little onion or ginger. Or leave it out entirely - these leeks make a heavenly evening dinner without much else. Braising brings out their deliciously sweet flavor, only slightly pungent. Braising vegetables is much quicker than braising meat, and often it's just as rewarding.
And yes, there's plenty of butter in them but spread out through a whole dish? Who's counting? Serve with spinach fettucine like we do here. It serves up even better the next day.
Plus, if you're vegan, you can leave out the butter entirely. Use olive oil instead.
Braised Leeks with Garlic and Wine
4 big leeks, well-washed and patted dry
4 big cloves of garlic, peeled and finely sliced
6 tbsp butter
2 wineglasses of white wine
1 cup chicken stock
Half a lemon, sliced
Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper
Trim the ragged, brown ends of the green leeks off and discard. Then cut the rest of the fresh, green part of the leeks away from the round white bulbs. Finely slice the green parts and reserve. Tear back and discard the first two layers of the white part of the leeks, leaving the tender whiter flesh. Rinse well and slice into 1 inch rounds.
Have a square baking pan ready.
In a large shallow frying pan melt the butter over medium heat. Slowly fry the garlic in the butter with the dark green leek tops until the garlic is softened but not colored. Go slow and let the garlic infuse the butter.
Add the pieces of white leek and toss them in the flavoured butter. Add salt and pepper to taste and toss as well. Pour the contents of the frying pan into the baking pan, squeeze the lemon over and toss it in, then pour the wine and stock in and cover with a square of baking parchment.
Bake in the oven at 350°F for 35 minutes or until tender and tasty. The butter should emulsify with the stock and wine to create a slightly shiny broth. Pour over a batch of pasta - or eat directly from a bowl with a large spoon.