Leeks with Rice

After the fairly heavy meals of Thanksgiving weekend, I opted for a lighter, vegetarian dish.
As I had some nice fresh leeks at hand, I recalled a simple and tasty dish from the Sephardic cuisine:  “Prassa con Arroz”, i.e. “leeks with rice” – and was quickly set on making it.
The dish includes mostly leeks, with very few other ingredients and minimal seasoning, which let the unique fresh, oniony leeks flavor shine.
The procedure is very simple: the leeks are first cooked with a bit of tomato paste, salt, sugar and pepper, and then a small amount of short grain rice is added to the pot with more water, and cooked to a risotto-like texture, which gives the dish more body and texture. To round up the flavors, the dish is finished with a bit of fresh lemon juice and olive oil.
Despite the simple ingredients and cooking method, the flavors are intense and highly satisfying. The dish can be served as a light meal, or as a side dish. Try it and enjoy.

Notes:
* Click HERE for instructions on how to clean the leeks.
* For more information about Sephardic cuisine, click HERE

Makes: 4
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour

Ingredients:
About 5 cups roughly sliced leeks, white and light green part only, washed well (see notes)
3 cups water
2 tsp salt
2 tsp sugar
2 Tbs tomato paste
¼ tsp freshly ground four pepper mix
½ cup short grain rice, washed
2 cups water (additional)
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 Tbs olive oil

1. Place the leeks in a wide pot, add 3 cups water, salt and sugar, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Lower the heat to medium-low, and cook for about 30 minutes, mixing gently occasionally, until the leeks are soft, and most of the water evaporated.

2. Add the tomato paste, pepper, rice and additional 2 cups water. Mix gently and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cover the pot, lower the heat to simmer and cook for about 30 minutes, until the rice is very soft and most of the water evaporated.

3. Add the lemon juice, mix gently,  taste and adjust seasoning. Drizzle the olive oil on top, and mix gently. Serve warm.

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