if you know me, you know i'm a huge Suzanne Goin fan. actually, if you follow this blog, you know this as well. i've raved about her and her food before here and here. oh! and here too! not only do i enjoy dining at her LA restaurants, i enjoy making recipes from her cookbook as well.
i recently dined at her newest restaurant, Tavern in Brentwood. and in typical Goin fashion (french-mediterranean fare made with fresh and local california ingredients), the food was scrumptious. one dish i loved in particular was her Devil's Chicken. dijon mustard seasoned chicken thighs covered in breadcrumbs served on top of the most tasty and savory braised leeks ever. it was a party of flavors in my mouth! and with the recipe in her book, i was every excited to make it at home.
the recipe for the Devil's Chicken is actually 2 parts. the leeks and then the chicken. this post is for just the braised leeks (the chicken part will be coming soon!). the leeks prepared this way make a great accompaniment to the chicken but would also make for an outstanding side dish to any meal. i think it would go along well with fish or red meat or even just alone w/ a nice crusty baguette. i can't rave about this dish enough. you must try it for yourself!
mise en place
from Sunday Suppers at Lucques by Suzanne Goin
6 large leeks
extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup sliced shallots
1 tablespoon thyme leaves
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 1/2 - 2 cups chicken or vegetable stock or water
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
leeks are part of the onion family. they have a mild onion taste with a hint of garlicky flavor. onion AND garlic?! what's not to love?
i find the best place to buy leeks is at my local farmer's market. you can of course, find them at any supermarket as well. leeks need a really good cleaning. with all the layers they have, a lot of dirt gets tucked inside.
to prepare your leeks, trim off the roots, leaving the root end intact. trim the tops, leaving 2 inches of the light green part. the dark green part is not edible. cut the leeks in half lengthwise.
submerge the leeks in a large bowl of cold water to clean them. shake them to dislodge any dirt tucked inside. continue doing this until they are all clean. then place the leeks, cut side down, on a towel and pat dry completely.
turn the leeks over so the cut side is facing up and season w/ 2 teaspoons of salt and a few grindings of black pepper.
heat a large saute pan over medium-high heat for 2 mins. pour in about 1/4 cup olive oil (enough to well coat the bottom of the pan), wait 1 minute. place the leeks in the pan cut side down. sear them 4-5 mins, until they are golden brown. turn them over and cook another 3-4 mins. then transfer them to a large gratin dish. you will have to do this in batches. be careful not to overcrowd the leeks in your pan and continue to add more oil as needed.
once you're done searing all the leeks, add some more oil to the pan (if there isn't any left). add the shallots, thyme, 1/4 teaspoon salt and a pinch of pepper. cook about 5 minutes, until the shallots are just beginning to color.
add the white wine and reduce by half. add 1 1/2 cups stock and bring to a boil over high heat.
note: i find taking the little thyme leaves off the stems quite tedious and honestly, just annoying. so i just throw in the whole springs. once the stock comes to a boil, most of the leaves have come off and i just fish out the stems and discard. voila!
pour the liquid w/ the shallots over the leeks in the gratin/baking dish. the stock should not quite cover them. add more stock in necessary.
braise in the oven for 30 minutes, until the leeks are tender when pierced.