Leeks are not often the primary ingredient in a dish, but just occasionally, and justifiably, they are the centrepiece. Their creamy flavour when slow cooked or braised is a delightful Winter element that is best appreciated outside of the soups and purees that they usually inhabit. The sweet oniony flavour is a surprise to people who have not experience it before.
These leeks are braised in wine and olive oil, then sautéed a little to give colour to the pieces, before being served with a sweet-sour sauce and creamy cheese.
This is an Ottolenghi dish from Plenty More – we are cooking our way through this book and have written about our experiences. We feel free to substitute ingredients that are not readily available in our local area.
In fact it is Ottolenghi Cooking the Books day on the blog – one of two days per month where we publish the latest recipes we have tried in our project of cooking from Ottolenghi books – those we have cooked directly and those we have been inspired by. Currently we are cooking from Plenty More, but not ignoring his other books completely. Note that I often massage the recipes to suit what is available from our garden and pantry. For the original recipes, check his books and his Guardian column.
Browse all of our Leek recipes and recipes using Burrata. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty More are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through this book. Or explore our Late Autumn recipes.
Sweet and Sour Leeks with Burrata
8 long, thin leeks or 4 regular leeks
2 bay leaves
2 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
200ml dry white wine
3 Tblspn olive oil
0.5 small red onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 Tblspn cider vinegar
2.5 tspn sugar
3 Tblspn sunflower oil
100g burrata, goat’s curd, or a creamy goat’s feta
1 Tblspn picked chervil leaves
sea salt and black pepper
prepare the leeks
Discard the green part, then cut each leek widthways into two, each about 10cm long, and wash. Lay the leeks in a large, shallow pan, add the bay leaves and garlic, and pour in the wine, olive oil and water, so the leeks are half-covered in liquid. Season, then simmer gently for anywhere between 30 minutes and an hour, turning the leeks a few times during cooking, until a knife can be inserted through the middle without any resistance.
Once tender, use a slotted spoon to transfer the leeks to a plate and set aside.
make the sauce
Strain the liquid into a small pan and reduce over a high heat until you are left with two tablespoons of sauce. Remove from the heat, add the onion, currants, vinegar and sugar, and season. Set aside so the onion and currants soften in the residual heat while you finish off the leeks.
finish the dish
Heat the sunflower oil in a large frying pan and fry the leek pieces for a couple of minutes a side, until lightly golden. Place on a plate and leave to cool to room temperature.
To serve, divide the leeks between four plates. Top with small chunks of goat’s curd, followed by the onion and currant dressing, and finish with a scattering of chervil.
recipe notes and alternatives
Cook the leeks in the oven instead of the stove top.