Tuesday, March 6, 2012

"The Simplest Potato & Leek Braise"

Our cookbook club (see here for an excellent description of what a cookbook club is and how to start one) met for the second time this month. We had two books this time, both by Molly Stevens: All About Braising and All About Roasting. I only have the braising book, so that's where I chose my recipe from.

It was great - comforting and tasty; it would be fabulous served alongside a ham, I think, although it certainly went well with the wild assortment of braised and roasted foods everyone brought to the potluck. (There were two different roasted chickens, a roasted goat leg, braised white beans, roasted broccoli, a pasta salad made with roasted tomatoes, and roasted brown-sugar pineapple. Plus probably some other things that I've forgotten. It was all very tasty.)

The Simplest Potato & Leek Braise
from Molly Stevens, All About Braising

  • about 1 1/2 pounds leeks
  • 1 1/2 lb yellow-fleshed potatoes
  • 1 1/2 tsp chopped fresh thyme
  • pinch of freshly-grated nutmeg
  • coarse salt & freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 1/4 C chicken stock, heated to near boiling
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1/4 C heavy cream
Heat the oven to 325F. Butter a shallow baking or gratin dish.

Trim the leeks of their leathery green top parts. Clean them, and cut the tender green and white parts into 3/4" sections. Peel and chop the potatoes.

Mix leeks, potatoes, thyme, nutmeg, salt, and pepper in the baking dish. Spread the potatoes out into a relatively even layer and pour the hot stock over them. Dot the top with butter.

Cover tightly with foil and braise (without disturbing) for about 45 minutes until the leeks and potatoes are almost tender. Remove the foil and gently stir with a rubber spatula. If there's not much liquid left, re-cover with the foil. If there's liquid halfway up the sides of the dish (or more), leave the foil off. Continue to braise until completely tender (another 20-25 min).

Remove the dish from the oven, and increase the oven temp to 425F. Remove the foil if you haven't already and pour the cream over the potatoes. Return to the oven, uncovered, and bake until the top is browned and bubbly, another 25-30 min. Let rest at least 5 min and serve directly from the baking dish.
serves 6 as a side dish

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