First Time for Leeks

The wonderful thing about trying new recipes is the joy of also tasting new ingredients. It is also a time to try a mixture of ingredients one might not think to put together. This has been the case twice this week.

Over the weekend, I generally put recipes I want to try on a list with the source and the page number (I didn’t do this in the beginning, then couldn’t remember where I saw the recipe). A shopping list is then created if I don’t already have everything on hand. My last step is to think through which recipe makes sense for which day based upon what is happening on our calendar.

The first recipe that was a little different was strawberry-balsamic roasted chicken. It was a very simple, but very flavorful recipe. Basically it was seared chicken thighs, strawberries, and onions, all baked in a reduced balsamic sauce. The meat just fell off the bone when it was done! On the side was a vegetable mix of parsnip, turnip, potato, garlic, and carrots. I sautéed them in a mix of butter and olive oil, with salt, pepper, turmeric, rubbed sage, and cinnamon as seasoning, and it worked.

Although I didn’t plan on the weather today being so fall like, soup was on the menu for dinner. It was leek, carrot, and rice soup. Another very simple and quick recipe with a handful of ingredients. Leeks was the ingredient I had never tasted, nor cooked with before.

As I was cutting the stems off the leeks, I caught a scent of onion. Sure enough, when I Googled leeks, it is a part of the allium family, which includes garlic, onion, shallots, scallions, and chives. It has a much milder taste than an onion, but definitely adds flavor to the soup.

What I wasn’t sure of, as I was cutting everything for my mise en place, was how to handle the leeks. One definitely must wash them as mine had dirt under its fingernails so to speak. At first I tried just washing it off like one does a potato. That was not going to work. My end solution was to cut them into quarters, then slice like I do an onion, then tossed it into a colander for a good wash. This seemed to do the trick.

At the last minute, I decided we needed some buttermilk biscuits to go with the soup. When I went to look for my favorite Paula Deen buttermilk recipe, I discovered I have a cookbook solely dedicated to biscuits (I guess I do have a cookbook for just about anything). I found a recipe for thyme and pepper buttermilk biscuits. Those where whipped up while the rice cooked in the soup.

The dinner was very flavorful if I do say so myself. It was also a perfect meal for a very chilly windy day.

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