Confit leeks, tomatoes and mushrooms with arak and almonds

Confit leeks, tomatoes and mushrooms with arak and almonds

By
From
Saha
Serves
6
Photographer
Matt Harvey

This dish is a shining example of my favourite à la grecque style of preparing vegetables. This involves gently stewing vegetables in an oil-enriched pickling liquor that is flavoured with aromatic herbs and spices. It’s a great method to learn as it is easy and can be used to cook all kinds of vegetables. Leeks go particularly well with anise flavours – this recipe uses fennel seeds and a splash of arak, the famous Lebanese spirit. You can freeze and reuse the cooking liquor.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
3 leeks, cut into 4 cm rounds, white part only
8 shallots, peeled
4 garlic cloves, peeled
2 bay leaves
few sprigs thyme
1 teaspoon black peppercorns, lightly crushed
1 teaspoon fennel seeds, lightly crushed
5 lemons, juiced
400ml dry white wine
500ml water
400ml extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 medium portobello mushrooms, trimmed
6 small vine-ripened tomatoes
80ml arak or another anise liqueur
freshly ground sea salt, to taste
extra-virgin olive oil
60g flaked almonds, fried golden brown

Method

  1. Put the leeks, shallots, garlic, herbs and spices into a large, heavy-based non-reactive saucepan. Pour on the lemon juice, wine, water and olive oil and stir in the salt.
  2. Cut a circle of baking paper to the size of the saucepan and sit it on top of the vegetables. Bring to the boil, then lower the heat and cook at a very gentle simmer for 20 minutes. Lift up the paper and slip the mushrooms and tomatoes in amongst the vegetables. Replace the paper and simmer gently for a further 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the arak. Leave the vegetables to cool slightly in the liquid.
  3. When ready to serve, lift the vegetables out of the stewing liquor into a serving dish, season with a little salt, drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil and sprinkle with flaked almonds. This makes a great vegetarian starter, served with plenty of hot Arabic bread or liberally buttered crusty French bread. It is also good with grilled lamb.
Tags:
Saha
Malouf
Lucy
Greg
Lebanon
Lebanese
Syria
Syrian
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