Zeytinyağlı Pırasa- Leeks cooked in olive oil

I have to start out by saying that this is one of those meals that doesn’t look like much but tastes a lot better than you expect. Plus, it is vegetarian, and full of vegetables, but you could add ground beef or lamb or even chicken if you’d like to add to it. This being said, it is just as filling on it’s own with some great pita bread.

1/4 cup of olive oil (should be enough to coat the bottom of the pot)

1 onion, chopped

1 lb. leeks, chopped (about 3 stalks, white bottom part removed)

2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced into coins

1/2 c. long grain white rice, washed and drained

1 tomato, chopped

1 tsp. sugar

1 tbsp. tomato paste

salt and ground black peper

juice of 1/2 lemon

lemon wedges to garnish

Heat the oil in a large saucepan or pot and fry the onion until soft and translucent.

Then add the leeks carrots and rice and fry together for a few minutes.

Add water to cover and bring to a boil over medium heat. Add the tomato, sugar, seasoning and tomato paste, then reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes, until the water is reduced by half and the rice is cooked.

You can let this cool and serve chilled, or eat right away. Add the lemon juice and serve with additional wedges for additional flavor.

You can add a chicken bouillon cube or chicken broth in place of some of the water for extra flavor or leave it as it is.

*** While making this tonight, I got distracted by trying to do too many things at once and the mixture started to burn onto the bottom of the pan. I ladled out as much as I could without touching the burned-on portion, transferred it to a new bowl and whisked in about 1 1/2 tbsp. of peanut butter. I had found this trick while googling a remedy for burned eggplant before, and it both removes that horrible flavor and does not leave a peanut butter taste at all. It also adds a touch of creaminess to the dish. Then I added the lemon juice as normal and it was as if it never happened! ***

This recipe has been adapted from Bade Jackson’s “Turkish Cooking: Authentic Culinary Traditions from Turkey.” The ISBN is 0-7858-0918-x.


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