Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Low-Carb Wine-Braised Leeks with Cream, Thyme & Parmesan

A dish of silken baby leeks cloaked in a wickedly creamy Parmesan sauce. The leeks take about half an hour to braise in their bath of wine, garlic and thyme, but once they're tender, the sauce takes just a few minutes of brisk bubbling to reduce and thicken. This dish is low in carbohydrates, and suitable for diabetics and anyone on a low-carb #LCHF regime.

Low-Carb Wine-Braised Leeks with Cream, Thyme & Parmesan.
This beautiful plate by my uncle David Walters, Master Potter of Franschhoek.

Wine recommendation by Michael Olivier.  He says: "Boland Cellar Granny Smith Nouvelle 2014. Nouvelle is a grape developed by Chris Orffer at the University of Stellenbosch by crossing Semillon and Ugni Blanc. First planted on the Geldenhuys family farm Klipvlei near Perdeberg, Nouvelle is grown in the Swartland, and it's a belter. 

 It looks like: Lime-green tinge of youth. Packed in a green-tinged bottle, with Granny Smith dancing on the label. 

 It smells like: Well - Granny Smith apples and fynbos herbs scrunched in your hand. 

 It taste like: Yes, you guessed, Granny Smiths again - and vibrantly so. A real thirst quencher: zesty, crisp and dry. A nice counterfoil to the leeks and cream.

I'm mad about baby leeks, and feature them often on this blog (recipe links below).  One watchpoint: even the slimmest leeks can be stringy, so be sure to keep them bubbling in the wine until they're as tender as a kiss.

If you don't cook with wine, you can use a cup of chicken stock in its place.

Here are more of my baby leek recipes. The first one is low in carbs, and the second and third are too, provided you omit the breadcrumbs and croutons.

Low-Carb Wine-Braised Baby Leeks in Prosciutto

Braised Baby Leeks with Halloumi 'Popcorn' and Frizzled Prosciutto

Salad of Warm Baby Leeks with Blue Cheese and Chilli Croutons

Low-Carb Wine-Braised Leeks with Cream, Thyme & Parmesan

750 g baby leeks
3 Tbsp (45 ml) olive oil
2 large cloves of garlic, peeled and cut in half lengthways
1 cup (250 ml) dry white wine
a few sprigs of fresh thyme
1 cup (250 ml) cream
½ cup (125 ml) finely grated Parmesan, plus a little extra for topping
a squeeze of fresh lemon juice
salt and pepper, to taste

Fry the leeks in the oil until they take on a little
colour here and there. 
Trim the bases of the leeks and cut off the upper dark-green parts (freeze these for using in your next chicken stock).

Heat the olive oil in a large shallow pan and fry the leeks over a medium-high heat for 4-5 minutes, or until they take on a little colour here and there (see picture, left).

Add the garlic and fry for another minute, without letting it brown.

Pour in the wine - it will bubble furiously -  and add the thyme sprigs.

Now turn the heat right down, cover with a tilted lid and simmer for 25-35 minutes, or until the leeks are very - and I mean very - tender.

When almost all the liquid has evaporated, add
the cream.
Take off the lid. The liquid in the pan should have reduced to just a few tablespoons. If it has not, continue cooking the leeks, uncovered, until there are just a few tablespoons of liquid left in the pan.

Turn up the heat again, pour in the cream, and bubble briskly for a few minutes, or until the cream has reduced and thickened to the consistency of thin custard.

Stir in the Parmesan, turn the heat right down, and simmer, stirring occasionally, for a further minute, or until the cheese has melted.

Season to taste with salt and pepper. Go easy on the salt - the Parmesan is salty enough in its own right.

Remove the pan from the heat. Now add a spritz of lemon juice - just enough to give the sauce a little acidic lift.

Remove the garlic pieces and the thyme sprigs.

Serve hot, with an extra grating of Parmesan.

Serves 4 as a side dish. 

Print Friendly and PDFPrint Friendly

No comments: