Turkish Leeks In Olive Oil

This recipe comes from Veg Box Coordinator Sally! It’s a great way to make the most of the leeks in your veg box this week. If you prefer to not use dairy for any reason, feel free to substitute the yogurt for a vegan alternative, or leave it out entirely. This dish would be wonderful as part of a mezze lunch during the surprisingly sunny weekend we have in store, with flatbread, hummus, falafel, and salads to round it out. If you try it, send us a photo via email, Facebook, or Instagram, and let us know what you think!

Ingredients (Serves 4 or more as part of a mezze):

4-5 leeks
1 onion
4 big cloves garlic
6 tbsp olive oil
1/2 lemon
1 tsp sugar
1 tbsp rice (preferably long grain but it doesn’t matter too much)
300ml vegetable stock
1 small bunch of dill – about 8-10 stalks
salt and black pepper
300-400ml yogurt

Turkish leeks pictured with baba ganoush and a carrot and lentil dish

Preparation: (about 40 minutes but hands on time is less than 10 minutes)

1. Put the olive oil in a saucepan to start heating (low heat) while you slice the onion (size doesn’t matter). Start to soften it in the olive oil with a tiny pinch of salt. Finely slice the garlic & add that. Fry really gently for 4-5 minutes until both are soft.

2. Meanwhile, trim the leeks & remove flabby outer layers & wash them thoroughly. Cut them into inch long pieces & add to the pan with a crack of black pepper (to your taste). Once the leeks are in try not to stir too much as they will break up. You can lift the pan & swirl it rather than stirring.

3. After a few minutes add the stock, sugar, juice of 1/2 lemon & (washed) rice. Make sure the liquid just covers the leeks, add a little more if needed. It is best if the leeks fit tightly into the pan so you don’t have to use too much liquid. Bring it all to the boil then reduce the heat, cover & simmer for 15 minutes.

4. By this time the leeks should be soft. Now you need to continue cooking them uncovered to evaporate most of the liquid. At this point chop half the dill, stalks and all & add to the pot. Give it a swirl to mix everything together.

5. Simmer for another 10-15 minutes until most of the liquid is gone & then check the seasoning. Add more salt & pepper if needed & leave to cool for at least 5 minutes.

6. To serve, chop the rest of the dill (without the stalks) and add that & the yogurt & mix everything together. It can be served warm or cold, I like room temperature best.