Roasted Leeks & Apples
Ah, the winter vegetable rotation: broccoli, brussels sprouts, kale, cauliflower, start over with broccoli again, slit wrists while pining away for a real tomato. Something needs to break that up, and I found just the recipe in a wonderful book I got as a gift.
The Philosopher’s Kitchen is written by food historian Francine Segan, and it’s both gorgeous and interesting. She’s taken recipes from ancient Rome and Greece and updated them. I’ve already assembled a long mental list of dishes I want to try, but let’s start with an easy one. Because it is still January. I just don’t do complicated food in January.
So. Side dish. Vegetable. Not one of the above vegetables. Nothing that’s even a close relative of one of the above vegetables. Something like…roasted leeks and apples. Doesn’t that sound like it would be great with pork chops? I don’t know whether it’s from Greece or Rome. She doesn’t say, although she does go on about Virgil and something about gathering roses and apples, and cutting hyacinths, in the introduction to the recipe, so I’m assuming Rome. In any case, it was great with pork chops, and you should definitely drop that broccoli at the store and pick up some leeks instead.
Leeks. I love leeks. You know how to wash them, right? Split them down the middle and rinse all the sections really well, because they’re full of dirt. Then cut them up. (Don’t use the really dark, tough parts of the leeks. Those are known as “compost.”) Cut up an apple or two as well, depending on how many people you’re feeding. I used a Honeycrisp.
By the way, all these shots were taken by a special guest photographer, the Knight in Shining Armor With His Trusty iPhone. Because my camera battery was dead, and there was no time to recharge it before making dinner. Love that iPhone.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, and throw together the sauce. It’s ridiculously easy for something that has such a nice, complex flavor. Just stir these things together in a baking dish: olive oil, a couple tablespoons of white wine, honey, marjoram, fennel seeds, salt and pepper. That’s it.
Handy tip: The best way to lay your hands on two tablespoons of white wine is to pour yourself a glass, and then take a little out of it. This is so much easier than pouring directly into a tablespoon measure, believe me. And it makes the cook happy.
Okay, now dump the leeks and apples into the dish and stir it all around while you’ve still got your wits about you.
In the oven it goes, for about half an hour. You’ll want to peek at it and stir it a couple of times. I left it in the oven, on a lower rack, while the pork chops broiled, then finished it for a couple of minutes under the broiler. Worked just dandy.
Yum. Very yum. This one will definitely make another appearance before winter is over. And I’ve got my eye on a recipe for chicken with date mustard, from the same book.
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