Friday, December 9, 2011

Leeks and Leaks

Janet here: No this isn't a homonym lesson. I'm just noting an interesting concurrence: the week in which I make a fantastic leek dish was also the week the light fixture in the bathroom at Casa de Roomie (I live in two places if you're not a regular reader) decided to become an unofficial shower as water streamed out of it one day just as I was about to head out the door to work. It was, obviously, an awesome moment.

But first some housekeeping. We are happy to announce the winners of our Blissful Bites cookbook giveaway: Carje, Vegan Wheekers and VegAn are going to be cooking up a vegan holiday storm, thanks to Christy Morgan and BenBella Books' generosity. We hope to get these in the mail ASAP but only Vegan Wheekers followed directions and left her email address so you other two need to contact us ASAP at lifetoldinrecipesatgmaildotcom so you can have an early Christmas present.

Anyway back to the leeks, which have become a bit of a vegetable fetish for me. First a confession: Until I started this blog with Rachel nearly 3 (!) years ago, I had never cooked a leek. Ever. It fell somewhere in with the thought process I had about shallots (also wildly wrong and uninformed), which goes like this: They're in the onion family, right, so really how different can they be in taste? I'll just use an onion.

That was a stupid thought process and when I think of how many years I missed eating leeks and (shallots), it makes me just a titch sad. It may also explain my using them, oh, at least once a week ever since and why I was inspired by a recipe from Not My Mother's Casseroles.

You might think a casserole made almost entirely of leeks would be boring or too much of a good thing. You would be wrong. This is savory and a wonderful side. And tonight the leftovers are going to be added to a little pasta with maybe a bit of sauteed broccoli and some grated Parmesan and I'm already salivating typing this. So make the casserole and then be happy you'll have some terrific leftovers too.

Lovely Leek Bake
serves 6-8


6 large leeks
6 tablespoons butter
6 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste
1 1/2 cups white wine
1 cup broth
juice of half a lemon
1 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2-3 sprigs fresh thyme (leaves only)
1/2 cup bread crumbs (I used premade, but if you make your own, add some spices of your choice: garlic? a little more thyme?, more cheese?)

Grease 5-6 quart Dutch oven
Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Trim the ends off the leeks and cut each in half lengthwise. Wash well. Pat dry. Cut into half-moons about 1/2-inch wide.

Melt the butter in the Dutch oven. Cook the garlic for a few minutes until soft. Then add the leeks and stir/cook for about 10 minutes until they begin to get golden brown and soft. Add the wine and broth. Bring to a simmer.

Then take off the heat and squeeze in the lemon juice. Stir in one cup of the Parmesan.

Sprinkle the bread crumb topping over the leeks. If you're making your own, pulse all the ingredients in the food processor first before spreading. Sprinkle the 1/2 cup Parmesan over the top and drizzle a little olive oil over it all.

Bake for 25 minutes uncovered until the topping is golden brown.

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