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Editor's note: Achilles aka "Chilly" is one of R.E.'s new onion choppers and this is his first post. We haven't scared him off yet, so you can expect to see lots more from this guy in the near future. For The Rogue Estate's Chef's Night, featured in March 14, 2012's Real Detroit Weekly, I was tasked with braising leeks to be used as a side dish for our Authentic Irish dinner service led by Ian Malbon. Let's start with the basics, and usually for me that's defining what I will be doing and with what. A braise is a cooking method where you sear your item at a high temperature, then drop the heat, add liquid, cover it, and let it cook in the liquid until it becomes fork tender. A leek is a vegetable from the onion and garlic family. Instead of being round like an onion, it grows upwards in layers of concentric cylinders. This is important to understand, because in between these layers lies a lot of dirt, and as such we must take care to rid our wonderful leeks of any impurities.
This dish fits well with just about any plate and its simplicity really lets the sweetness and texture of the leeks shine - a great side with any protein. Leeks aren't just for St Paddy's day any more! Do you have a favorite preparation for leeks we should try here at the Estate? Let me know about it in the comments. -Chilly
|Braised Leeks for Irish Dinner||
Recipe Type: Side Dish
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 20 mins
Total time: 30 mins
- 4 Large Leeks
- 1 tbls butter
- 1 tbls salt
- 1/2 tbls fresh ground pepper
- 1/2 tbls dried Thyme (1 tbls fresh)
- 1/2 cup of white wine
- For this recipe, I kept the leeks whole. Fill your (clean) sink with cold water...enough to let the leeks soak in. This will allow dirt to pass through the circles and settle at the bottom of the sink.
- Slice off the very bottom of the leek where the roots are, then slice off the green leaves after the white stem base. What you want to be left with is the part that is for all intents and purposes, white (side note: keep the leaves to add to a stock...they carry wonderful flavor, although mostly inedible). Place the leeks in their bath as you prep them. After about 10 minutes, unplug your drain, and turn the water back on. You can feel free to run water through the leeks to help purge any remaining impurities. Place your leeks on paper towels and allow them to dry.
- At the stove you want a saute pan (with a lid) on medium heat. Add the butter and wait until it bubbles. Add the leeks and allow them to brown on the bottom. Once browned, turn them over and allow the other side to brown. Add salt and pepper at this point.
- The reason I waited to add the seasoning was because there was nothing for the salt and pepper to adhere to at first. Now that the butter is coating one side of the leeks, it's game on.
- When the other side browns, turn them over a few times to ensure an adequate coating of butter and seasoning. Turn the heat down to medium-low, add the wine and thyme, and cover. You're looking for a simmer here, nothing more; we don't want to burn or boil our leeks. Congratulations...you are now braising!
- Allow the leeks to braise until a sharp knife slides easily through the leek (about 20 minutes - feel free to turn the leeks throughout the process). Once this achieved, remove the leeks from the pan and place into a serving dish. Pour the remaining braising liquid goodness over them and allow them to come to room temperature. When you're ready to serve, slice them in half and pour about a tablespoon of braising liquid over them.
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