This dish is apparently really popular in Turkey & is eaten a lot in Istanbul with grilled meats. Apparently in Turkey people often cook carrots in with the leeks. I haven’t tried that but might do it if I was only making one dish to add some extra nutrients.
We have been eating this with grilled meats for dinner & the leftovers are great on a flatbread for lunch. It is pretty simple & easy to make and will keep in the fridge for days. It goes really well on a mezze with the recipe I posted last week for Carrot & Lentil Salad.
The only change I have made to the original is to add yogurt. I really like the creaminess it gives & for me it improves the dish but taste it without & see what you think. I use a thick strained yogurt if I can get it, something from the Middle Eastern grocers as it is sweet & creamy. Greek yogurt is the closest thing in the supermarket.
Turkish Leeks in Olive Oil
Ingredients (Serves 4 or more as part of a mezze):
4 big cloves garlic
6 tbsp olive oil
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
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.