Braised leeks are banging! It makes me wonder why leeks have been such an overlooked member of the onion family – well, at least in my household that is.
They provide all the flavourful umami of a brown onion, but with a lot more subtlety. Plus they offer a delicious sweetness that pairs amazingly with smokey, streaky bacon, and earthy mushrooms.
These braised leeks make for such a comforting weekday meal, and they’re super easy to prepare. If you’re feeding 4 people, you’ll have to supplement the meal with crusty bread, or maybe even baked potatoes. But, this could easily serve 2 – 3 people as is.
How to make braised leeks
- 4 medium – large leeks
- 8 – 10 pieces streaky bacon chopped
- 250g mushrooms of your choice halved
- 3 – 4 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 large bay leaf
- Dash white wine (optional)
- Half cup chicken, veg or beef stock
- 1 can lentils drained and rinsed
- 1Tbs cream or yoghurt to serve (optional)
- Bread or potatoes to serve (optional)
1.Begin by preparing the leeks. Fill a large tupperware with cold water. Trim leeks by cutting off dry and damaged top green leaves, as well as bottom sprout. You may also have to remove the outer layer of the leeks.
2.If the leeks are very long, cut them in half, and then cut each piece in half vertically and place in cold water so that sand is removed.
3.While leeks are soaking, start to render the bacon in a cold pan, slowly heating to medium. Once pan is at medium heat, add thyme and bay leaf, increase to medium-high heat and add mushrooms. Cook until caramelised and slightly soft.
4.Use a slotted spoon to remove bacon and mushrooms from pan (leaving in the herbs), add a knob of butter to the pan, and place leeks, cut side down into the pan to brown and soften. Turn over after 2 minutes and repeat on other side. You may have to do this in batches.
5.Once all leeks have softened, return them to the pan cut side down. Add a dash of wine, as well as the stock and allow to boil for one minute. Reduce heat to a simmer, return bacon and mushrooms to pan, cover and braise for 10 -15 minutes.
6.Uncover, add lentils, and allow to reduce for another 5 – 10 minutes.
7.Serve with a drizzle of cream or yoghurt and some buttered bread.