Here is my solution of the moment and the opportunity to learn a very important lesson – never judge a recipe by its title. What this recipe lacks in colour, it makes up with a fantastic flavour punch. Taking mere minutes to make these soft and lightly caramelised leeks are quite possibly this year’s favourite mid week cold weather comfort food.
The trick here is to use a heavy bottomed frying pan with a lid. Side note here: I love my lodge cast iron one – it’s inexpensive, conducts the heat beautifully and is durable beyond imagination. While it doesn’t come with its own designated lid, I can use any of my selection of mid size ones hanging around in my drawers or even a plate as a stand in.
Don’t be afraid of high heat here to get things going – its what gives a fabulous hint of colour to the edges, but be sure not to burn the garlic (or feel free to use a couple of cloves of confit garlic if you have any hanging around in the fridge).
This really is an ideal side dish. a complete vegetarian option or the perfect solo meal with a few cursory greens on the side. If you don’t have any spring onions, don’t worry. If you only have chickpeas, use those instead. If you don’t have any alcohol to hand for the braise, simply use a little stock or even water. This is malleable and easy and I like it best eaten straight out of the pan with a fork. No plate necessary. Enjoy.
Leeks with White Beans and Parmesan
- 1 clove garlic
- 2 spring onions
- 3 leeks
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 30g (1tbsp) butter, divided into two
- 3 sprigs thyme
- 1/2tsp Aleppo pepper flakes
- a good pinch of salt and pepper
- 125ml white wine or vermouth
- 200g cooked borlotti or cannellini beans (we use tinned)
- 15g parmesan, grated
- Peel and thinly slice the garlic clove. Slice the white and most of the green parts of the spring onions into thin rounds. (I like to do this on a slight diagonal mainly for style purposes).
Trim the bottom and the hard green parts of the leeks (keep the green tops for stock)Cut into rounds on the diagonal (again for style) and rinse in a colander to remove any grit, keeping the rounds in tact as much as possible. Shake off to dry.
Place a large sauté pan with a lid on medium heat. Drizzle in the oil and 15g of butter and allow to melt together. Once hot and starting to bubble (but not smoke) add the garlic and spring onions and gently sautee for a minute or so, careful not to let the garlic burn.
Add the leeks, thyme, Aleppo pepper (if using) and season with a good pinch of salt and pepper grinds.
Turn around everything in the pan a few times and cook for a minute or so further until the leeks begin to catch a little.
Pour over your liquid of choice and allow the alcohol to bubble out. Reduce the heat to medium low and cover with a lid. Cook for 5 minutes until the leeks have softened.
Remove the lid from the pan and stir through the beans, warming them through and fully coating them in the flavoured liquid.
Add the remaining butter and allow it to melt into the leek juices creating a deeply flavoured sauce.
Sprinkle over the parmesan, adding more if you wish.
Have you made this dish?
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