Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Recipe Testing: Sweet and Sour Braised Leeks with Bacon and Raisins {Food52}

This is the last of the trio of sidedishes I am testing for Food52 this week. I followed the original recipe Kukla's Sweet and Sour Braised Leeks with Bacon and Raisins with only slight adaptations.

For me sweet and sour go together like peanut butter and jelly, wine and cheese, or chocolate and hazelnuts. You get the idea. Flavor marriages made in heaven. This dish - braised leeks - has sweetness from raisins, zip from vinegar, and a mysterious smokiness from bacon. It's bright and tasty; it comes together very quickly. I served this with some honey-glazed short ribs and it was lovely. I will definitely be making this again soon. Sweet and sour. Bliss.

splash of olive oil
2 slices of thick-cut apple-wood smoked bacon
2 medium organic leeks, white and light green part cut in half, washed well; then sliced in about 3/4" pieces
freshly ground sea salt
freshly ground pepper
3/4 t herbes de Provence, rubbed in the palms of hands
1/2 C organic raisins
1 large or 2 medium shallots, finely chopped
1 T butter
1/2 C organic chicken stock
2 T pear balsamic vinegar
fresh parsley and reserved green scallion tops, finely chopped for garnish

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add bacon and cook, turning, until crisp, about 6-7 minutes. Transfer bacon to paper towels to drain. Let cool and then coarsely crumble.

Add leeks to bacon drippings in skillet, sprinkle with some salt, a few grinds of pepper and the herbes de Provence. Cook, stirring often, until leeks are lightly browned and beginning to soften, about 8 minutes.
Reduce heat to low; add shallots, chopped white part of scallions, raisins and butter. Saute, stirring often, until the shallots are soft, about 5 minutes.

Add chicken stock to the skillet; increase heat and bring to boil, scraping up any brown bits from bottom of skillet. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for a few minutes, until stock has evaporated.

Stir in vinegar and bacon crumbles; taste and season with more salt and black pepper, if needed; sprinkle with chopped parsley and reserved scallion green tops. Serve warm and enjoy!

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