Sunday, March 1, 2009

Braised Leeks with Tomatoes

I finally caved and bought the completely revised edition of the indispensable How to Cook Everything. One of the best features of the new version is a vastly expanded set of variations on basic recipes - including a nice alternative to one of my favorites, "Leeks Braised in Butter or Oil."

I adore leeks - they're one of my favorite vegetables, and I've cooked slight variations on Bittman's base recipe many a time. These particular ones were a rather sad three bunches - none of them over 1 in. in diameter, and with perhaps three inches of usable white and light green at maximum. That said, even teensy, aging leeks taste lovely, and the recipe variant let me make use of a leftover half-can of Muir Glen tomatoes. Herewith, my riff on Bittman's version (which leaves out the parsley garnish and the thyme):
  • 3 bunches of leeks, trimmed and cleaned and cut into 3-inch sections
  • 3 tbsp. butter
  • salt and freshly-ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 cup of chopped canned tomatoes, with some of the juice (Bittman prefers a single fresh one)
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice (about 1/4 lemon)
Heat butter in a pan or skillet over medium heat. When it melts, add the leeks. Liberally (the amount, not the political persuasion) sprinkle them with salt and pepper and cook, turning once or twice, for about 5 minutes (they should be lightly browned).

Add the tomatoes and their juice; bring the mixture to a boil. Then, turn the heat to low, cover, and cook till the leeks are tender (about 12 minutes in the case of these slim little things, usually 20-25 minutes). Uncover - if you think the mixture's too liquidy, simmer for a few minutes more (I love broth so I don't bother).

Sprinkle lemon juice over the leeks; correct seasoning and serve.

NOTE: This turned out wonderfully, with the partially-caramelized sweetness of the leeks, the roasted-tasting richness of the tomatoes and the tang of the lemon juice all coming together nicely. Will definitely try this again.

No comments:

Post a Comment