Friday, 14 September 2007

Braised Leeks and Mushrooms

Leeks are an awfully overlooked vegetable in Ontario, I think. Maybe because they are a member of the onion family, and so thought of as a seasoning rather than a vegetable? They do also tend to be somewhat expensive, but I got some at the farmers' market for 50 cents each; a bargain. If you have a garden, they are well worth growing yourself. They're not hard to grow, they just like lots of water and nutrients and are in the ground for a long time, and you should plant them in a trench then hill them up later. And you should start them inside in January. So, okay... radishes they are not, but unlike radishes they will sit in the ground and wait for you for quite a while. They're delicious too, being mild and sweet with just a delicate hint of onioniness.

2 servings
30 minutes - 10 minutes prep time

Braised Leeks and Mushrooms2 to 3 large leeks
1 cup quartered button mushrooms

1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black peppercorns, crushed
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
2 cups chicken stock

1 to 2 tablespoons butter

Wash and slice the leeks, discarding the roots and any dark green leaves. Rinse them well again, and let drain well. Clean and quarter the button mushrooms.

Mix the tomato paste, salt, pepper, thyme and chicken stock, and set aside.

Melt the butter in a large, heavy-bottomed pot or skillet, if it has a lid. Sauté the leeks and mushrooms in the butter until soft. Mix in the tomato paste and stock mixture. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes, until the leeks are quite tender. Stir occasionally. If they are too soupy at this time, remove the lid and increase the heat to boil off any excess liquid - this should just take a minute or two.

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