Leeks Simmered in Wine: Cooking Demo

Leeks Simmered in Wine: Cooking Demo

OK! Let's try something super French. 
Leeks. Simmered. In wine. 
Soak up that goodness with bread. 

If cooking in wine is new to you, it will become one of your favorite things. The flavor of cooked wine is unbeatable. And the aroma - OH lawd... it makes everyone take an interest in what's on the stove.

There's some conflict around how much alcohol actually evaporates in the process. Most say it does evaporate, but for those that have an allergy to alcohol, they say it indeed does not evaporate. Both sides agree that there's not enough left in the cooking to influence intoxication. 

However, if you want to cook without alcohol for whatever reason, I use a non-alcoholic substitute in the video. 

Leeks Simmered in Wine (page 349)
Serves 4
Equipment: large skillet, spatula/spoon, tongs, knife
Time: 50 minutes (a couple sets of simmering, so you can do other things)

Ingredients: 
2 tablespoons butter or olive oil
8 leeks, about an inch in diameter, trimmed, halved lengthwise and rinsed
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Aromatics: 2 bay leaves, 6 parsley sprigs, 3 thyme sprigs, 1/2 teaspoon peppercorns
Freshly milled pepper
Chopped chervil, tarragon, or parsley, for garnish

HOW TO USE IN A MEAL
1. An elegant side dish to any meat
2. With a slice of quiche for entertaining guests or family brunch
3. Complement any Italian or French meal (why not dress up pizza night?) 
4. Serve alongside a cheese and bread platter
4. Save the liquid to flavor rice or poach chicken

NOTES ABOUT INGREDIENTS
1. Use olive oil instead of butter if you anticipate leftovers. The butter hardens and makes the leftovers look very unappetizing, and lessens the opportunity for serving the leeks at room temperature or as a cool side dish. 
 
2. Green onions can be substituted in lieu of leeks if you can't find them. 

3. Alcohol substitute: Stock! Chicken or vegetable stock is a suitable substitute for adding flavor. To get the tarty depth of wine, add 1 tablespoon of vinegar for each cup of stock. So, here, you'd add 1/2 tablespoon of vinegar to your half cup of stock. If you want a vegan stock option to use in a pinch, consider keeping Rapunzel's vegan bouillon cubes on hand. 

4. Aromatics. You should have parsley left over from last week. If you have it chopped and stored in olive oil, scoop out about 1 tablespoon. Thyme sprigs can be kept in freezer, as well as fresh bay leaves. 

In a skillet that will hold the leeks comfortably, heat the butter over medium heat. Add the leeks and cook until the begin to color a little. Add the wine and cook until it's reduced by half, then add 2 cups of water, the salt, and aromatics. Simmer, partially covered, until the leeks are tender, 10 to 20 minutes. Transfer them to a platter. Continue cooking the liquid until it's the consistency of light syrup, then pour it through a strainer over the leeks. Season with salt and pepper and garnish with the chopped herb. 

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