Braised LeeksWhen I first tasted my braised leeks, I wanted to eat the entire dish.  Yeah, these turned out that good.  The carmelization of the leeks yielded something luscious, tender and full of rustic flavor, with a bit of crispness on the edges.  The leaks were first seared in olive oil, then braised with a reduction of white wine , chicken stock, and shallots.   This is my favorite dish of the week!  I’m happy just eating the leeks by themselves,  but I also have fantasies of combining them with crispy bacon and adding a sprinkle of parmesan cheese.  Pretty heavenly, huh?  See for yourself!

Braised Leeks

Adapted from “Sunday Suppers at Lucques”

Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

6 large leeks
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
About ¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
1 cup sliced shallots
1 tablespoon thyme leaves
½ cup dry white wine
1½ to 2 cups chicken or vegetable stock.

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Peel any bruised outer layers from leeks. Trim roots, leaving root end intact. Trim off tops on diagonal, leaving two inches of green. Cut in half lengthwise. Clean very well in water to remove internal grit. Pat dry with towel.

3. With cut sides up, season with 2 teaspoons salt and a few grindings of black pepper.

4. Heat pan over medium-high heat for 2 minutes. Pour in ¼ cup oil and wait 1 minute. Place cut side down in pan without crowding them. (Make in two batches, and use more oil, if necessary.) Sear them 4 to 5 minutes, until golden brown. Season with salt and pepper, and turn over to cook 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer them, cut side up, to a gratin dish that will fit leeks and chicken, or use two dishes.

5. Pour ¼ cup oil into pan and heat over medium heat. Add shallots, thyme, ¼ teaspoon salt and a pinch of pepper. Cook about 5 minutes, until just beginning to color. Add wine and reduce by half. Add 1½ cups stock, and bring to a boil over high heat.

6. Pour over leeks, without quite covering them.

7. Braise in oven 30 minutes, until tender.

Yield: 6 servings.

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