This is going to be quick, because it’s late at night and I’ve got a lot of studying to do tomorrow. But after coming out of three exams in as many days, today was my day of rest. I did some serious cooking today for the first time in almost two weeks (that might be a lie, but I really tried to refrain from wasting time in the kitchen). I went grocery shopping for the first time in a month. Ditto for doing laundry. I guess that doesn’t actually sound very restful, but it was still a nice day.
I knew exactly what I wanted to make, because I’d been planning it since acquiring the main ingredient three weeks ago. My Dad grows the most extensive gardens you’ve ever seen in the summer, and last time my family came to visit he brought me a bunch of leeks. In the Jamie Oliver cookbook I have, there’s a recipe called “Slow Cooked Leek Soldiers with Bacon” and it’s the best way to cook leeks that I can think of.
The first time I made this, it was wonderful. To me, the warm, buttery taste of leeks combined with a bit of bacon-y goodness and a hint of thyme makes for an unparalleled winter comfort food. I don’t know if cozy is an adjective that can be used to describe food, but if it can, that’s how I would describe it. If I wasn’t writing a physics exam on Monday, there would be a loaf of homemade bread to go along with it.
Anyway, if you enjoy the taste of leeks, I highly recommend that you make this dish sometime, and as I mentioned before, it’s a Jamie Oliver Recipe, so it’s obviously awesome.
My adaptations to the recipe involved cutting it in half, because I only had that many leeks. I also changed a few other things because fresh thyme is a luxury I don’t have, and I can’t justify opening a bottle of wine to use a single glass. I also left the bacon on top of the leeks while I ate it, whereas Jamie took it off and chopped it up.
Slow Cooked Leek Soldiers with Bacon
- 6 leeks
- Olive Oil
- 2 garlic cloves
- 2 tsp dried thyme
- A knob of butter
- 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 4 slices of bacon
Preheat your oven to 400ºF. Butter a small (roughly 6×6) casserole dish. Trim the ends of the leeks and discard the outer two or three layers. Cut off, wash and finely chop the dark green part of the leeks. Put them in a frying pan with the olive oil, garlic, thyme and butter, and cook them for ten minutes until softened. Meanwhile, take the remaining pale green and white parts, wash them, and slice them into two inch pieces. When the dark green tops are done, spread them out in the bottom of your casserole dish, and then place the two inch pieces upright in the pan. Ideally, they’ll be packed nice and close together, but if the dish and the number of leeks you’re using don’t quite agree with each other, that’s fine.
Add the vinegar and chicken stock, and enough water so that the leeks are standing in at least a half inch of liquid. Layer the bacon overtop. Get a big strip of wax paper, wet it under the tap, and then fit it snugly around the leeks. Then cover it sheet of aluminum foil. Place the dish in the oven for an hour or so, until the leeks are tender, and you can easily slide a fork into one of them. When they have reached this point, remove the foil and wax paper and put the dish back in the oven for 20 minutes. When the bacon is crispy, take it out, let it cool, and then enjoy!