February 08, 2010

Braised Leeks in Red Wine and Mustard Sauce

Like I often do after an overwhelming day at school, I made the mistake of going to the grocery store without a plan (or a thought, even) in mind this afternoon, and I ended up wandering around the produce section for about ten minutes before I chose something to buy.

Though I had never cooked them before, I decided to buy some leeks and see what I could do with them. I had fond memories of leeks sauteed with garlic in a cream sauce by my host mother in France, and I thought I'd come home and figure out a leek recipe once I had a minute to think.

I chose a braised leek recipe from Bittman's How to Cook Everything, and then modified it to fit the Kittchen (meaning I ended up making a hybrid of the variations Bittman included in his recipe).

Braised Leeks in Red Wine and Mustard Sauce
  • 3 Leeks, washed and trimmed (here's how to trim, cut, and wash leeks)
  • 1/2 cup chicken or vegetable stock
  • 4 tbsp. red wine
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 3 tbsp. butter
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
1. The victims.

2. Cut off the top section of the leeks (the dark green part), and peel away any really tough outer layers. Then cut the leeks in half, rinse them in cold water, and allow them to dry.

3. I just wanted you to see the root hairs. I thought about making a little guy with a face and root hair on top of his head, but then I got lazy.

4. Heat the butter over medium heat in a pan large enough to hold the leeks in one layer. Once the butter is warm, brown the leeks for about five minutes, flipping them occasionally with tongs.

5. Add the stock, wine, and Dijon mustard, stir a bit around the sides, and reduce the heat to low. Cover the pan and cook for 20-25 minutes, or until tender.

6. If there's a lot of liquid left over, turn up the heat and boil some of it off before serving. Use the rest as a sauce, and enjoy!

Now, let me be clear. Leeks are not for the faint of heart. If you're just becoming friendly with veggies, you might want to wait on these. They're very fibrous, and they're a little scary-looking. I'm pretty sure T would jump out the window if I served them to him, which is why I made them on a weeknight, when he's not here to make whimpering noises.

That disclaimer aside, these leeks are delicious. Their buttery, soft texture and the richness of the sauce are fantastic together, and I definitely ate all three of them on my own. Try them, if you're feeling courageous.

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