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.

Filo Triangles with Zucchini-Tomato Filling

The following tasty and crispy filo triangles are a quicker version of the Sephardic savory “Boyos” pastries (click HERE for recipe), which require a fairly lengthy preparation of their delicate dough. Here, I’ve used store-bought filo pastry, and filled it with the traditional tasty zucchini-tomato filling, which is also used for making “Burekitas” (click HERE for recipe). Continue reading

Sephardic Fried Eggplant with Vinegar Parsley Sauce

The following recipe comes from the Sephardic cuisine*, of which I mentioned here quite a few times. Its name in Ladino (Judeo-Spanish) is “peshkado de tierra” i.e. “fish of the earth”, as the eggplants are cooked in the same manner as fried fish (as shown in THIS post). The dish was served as a vegetarian substitute when fresh fish was scarce, or as the main dish for Friday’s lunch, with the more elaborated Shabbat’s evening dinner in mind, which always included fish and meat dishes. Continue reading

Sephardic Spaghetti and Cheese Bake

Unlike last week’s time consuming recipe, the following recipe requires very little effort or ingredients.
The original bake, which is known in the Sephardic cuisine as “Makarron reynado”, is a simple mix of cooked spaghetti, Feta cheese, eggs and milk, baked until set and golden. Continue reading

Candied Pomelo Rind

The following recipe came from my maternal grandmother, who was raised in the Sephardic Jewish community of Izmir. The making of jams, confitures and sweets was an important part of every household, and the guests were greeted with an assortment of small plates of these delicacies, along with coffee. Continue reading

Burekitas – Sephardic Savory Pastries

Burekitas – Sephardic Savory Pastries Ronit PensoBurekitas are a type of small hand pies that are well known in any Sephardic household. Continue reading

Pearl Onions Sephardic Style

Pearl Onions Sephardic Style Ronit PensoThis simple yet complex side dish is typical to traditional Sephardic cooking: very few ingredients and seasonings, slowly cooked and caramelized in the oven, creating a fragrant and tasty dish.
Granted, this is not a dish you would quickly make, but if you’re home on a cold winter’s day, just place it in the oven and wait for the wonderful results.

Continue reading

Zucchini Cheese Bake with Hazelnuts Topping

Zucchini Cheese Bake with Hazelnuts Topping Ronit PensoThis light, fresh and tasty bake is quick and easy to assemble. It can be served warm or cold, as an appetizer or a vegetarian entrée, or cut into small cubes and served as finger food. Continue reading