Red wine braised leeks & mushrooms
Braising leeks, mushrooms and even seitan in red wine is a French technique that’s simple yet impressive to behold and taste. Serve it up with pasta, potatoes or on a bed of delicate White Bean & Celeriac Puree and enjoy an extra helping of ooos and ahhs.
- 10 ounces cremini mushrooms
- 1 pound leeks
- 3 tablespoons of olive oil, divided
- 1 1/4 cups dry red wine
- 1 teaspoon dried marjoram
- 4 spring fresh thyme or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste
- 2 teaspoons vegan margarine
- A few twists freshly ground pepper
1. Trim away most of the green stalks on the leeks, leaving about an inch near the white part. Slice away the tip of root end, and slice each leek in half lengthwise. Firmly hold the leek so that it doesn’t fall apart, and rinse under cool running water to remove any grit or dirt. Place leeks on a cutting board and slice each piece into sections about 2 1/2 inches long, hold the pieces together to prevent the leaves from separating too much.
2. Over medium high heat, sear the mushrooms in 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Fry the mushrooms, stirring occasionally until both sides are browned and mushrooms look juicy, about 4 minutes. Remove from the pan, sprinkle the mushrooms with a pinch of sea salt and set aside. Heat the remaining olive oil and place the leeks cut side down in the oil. Brown the leeks for 2 to 3 minutes, carefully lifting up the leeks to check and see if the undersides are seared and the edges of the leaves are browned. Pour in the wine, sprinkle with marjoram and tuck the thyme springs into the wine. Increase the heat and bring the wine to an active simmer and cover the pan. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes.
3. If serving on top of white bean puree, potatoes or pasta, mound individual servings (about 1 cup) of hot puree in serving dishes. Divide mushrooms on top of puree. Uncover the pan and using tongs, carefully lift the leeks and arrange on top of mushrooms. Increase the heat to medium high and bring the juices in the pan to a rapid simmer for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat to low and swirl the 2 teaspoons of margarine into the juices to thicken them slightly. Drizzle a little bit of the sauce over each serving of leeks and serve immediately.
Just leeks in red wine
These braised leeks make an intriguing starter or side dish all on their own, served warm or even at room temperature. Leave out the mushrooms entirely and proceed as above. Especially nice prepared with baby leeks or ones fresh from the farm.
Braised seitan and leeks
Make this dish even heartier by including seitan! Slice 2 cutlets of homemade seitan or 8 to 10 ounces of purchased seitan into 1/2 inch thick strips. Brown strips in olive oil over medium heat, turning the pieces several times to brown the slices evenly. Prepare the leeks (or leeks and mushrooms) as directed above. Arrange the seitan on top of white bean puree or potatoes, top with mushrooms (if using), braised leeks and drizzle with sauce.