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Braised Leeks With Chile Bean Sauce Recipe

Why It Works

  • Browning the leeks over excessive warmth caramelizes the vegetable’s pure sugars, producing bittersweet flavors. 
  • Braising the leeks till tender leads to a satisfying melt-in-your-mouth chew.
  • A cornstarch slurry shortly thickens up the sauce to a glaze-like consistency.

I’m all the time on the hunt for brand new methods to cook dinner greens, and this leek recipe has shortly turn into a favourite at house. It combines two cooking kinds: The leeks are cooked utilizing a technique just like European braised leeks, during which they’re seared in a skillet after which gently cooked within the oven till tender. However the taste profile of the sauce borrows closely from Sichuan cooking. I believe it is clear that this leek recipe isn’t a conventional Sichuan dish, however it’s strongly impressed by what I’ve realized in regards to the delicacies. Served with bowls of heat fried rice or plain rice, it makes for a light-weight however filling vegetarian dinner.

Approach Breakdown: The Braise

The recipe begins by trimming and halving the leeks lengthwise. Leeks should all the time be washed very rigorously to take away sand and grit hidden of their compact layers; there’s nearly all the time extra there than one would possibly suspect, and it’ll wreck the dish for those who do not wash it out absolutely.

Critical Eats / Amanda Suarez


After a cautious rinsing, dry the leeks properly, then sear them in a skillet of scorching oil on their lower sides till properly browned. This builds taste and permits us to deglaze the pan to select up much more of the flavour of the browned sugars from the leeks. You need to use water, vegetable inventory, or, if a strictly vegetarian recipe is not a requirement, rooster inventory to do that. This liquid then will get mixed with the leeks in a baking dish earlier than they’re slowly braised within the oven till meltingly tender.

Whereas this occurs, it is time to make the sauce.

The Sauce

The sauce for the leeks is remarkably easy, and depends on a number of elements to ship daring taste. Doubanjiang (Sichuan chile bean paste) brings an earthy savoriness and gentle warmth, whereas Chinkiang vinegar gives a fruity tang. Soy sauce and garlic, in the meantime, add further savoriness and depth. Collectively, they make a punchy and intensely savory sauce with mild warmth that enhances the fragile sweetness of the leeks.  

Critical Eats / Amanda Suarez


Since Fuchsia Dunlop’s guide The Food of Sichuan launched me to doubanjiang, it has turn into one in all my pantry staples. Doubanjiang is an important ingredient in lots of Sichuan dishes, together with fish-fragrant eggplant and braised fish; it packs a lot taste that it features as one thing like a super-ingredient, requiring little further to construct a deeply flavorful recipe (it’s, indisputably, the primary purpose mapo tofu is such a deeply satisfying dish to eat). 

Hailing from Pixian within the Chinese language province of Chengdu, the paste is comprised of break up fava beans and wheat flour which have been blended collectively, allowed to mould, then fermented with er jing tiao chiles. Salty and savory, doubanjiang is obtainable to buy at varied levels of maturity. In response to Dunlop, doubanjiang is most incessantly used when it’s been fermented for 2 to 3 years, when it has a wealthy mahogany colour. Its wealthy colour would possibly trace at a excessive diploma of warmth, however doubanjiang itself isn’t notably scorching.

As soon as the leeks are braised and the sauce is whipped up, you may merely pour the sauce on high of the leeks and serve. Simple peasy…or leaksy?

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