© 2013 mathewguiver

Leek confit – a delicious savory vegetarian spread

A confit is basically anything cooked down in oil or sugar water that can be stored for several weeks. It’s a traditionally French way of preserving and storing meats, but since I’m a vegetarian I like to make other savory confits. Technically savory “condiment confits” are more of an Italian dish, and since I’m using leeks today, this dish has a bit of an Irish essence.

French, Italian, Irish… Whatever country influenced the origin of this leek confit doesn’t matter as much as the fact that it’s amazing. You will need to spend an hour or so cooking down the leeks, but the recipe is dead simple, and the confit is delicious. The cooked leeks aren’t as sweet as caramelized onions, and have a very savory, and earthy flavor. So good! Especially on a crostini or with rice!

Ingredients:

4 leeks
Canola oil
1/8 tsp kosher salt
Water

Directions:

1. Start by removing the ends of your leeks, and slicing into inch and a half long pieces. Make a small cut lengthwise into the sides of your leeks in order to separate the ringlets. Rinse and let sit in cold water for about 10 minutes to remove any dirt.

2. Dry leeks on a paper towel, but don’t worry if there is still a little water on them, you’ll be adding more water as you cook anyway.

3. Combine leeks, salt, and canola oil in a large pot. The leeks will cook down significantly, but the oil and water can splash a bit so if you want to avoid having to clean your stove then start with a big pot.

Cook over medium / high heat.

4. Stir continuously and cook for about an hour, or until the leaks have turned into an even yellowish brown color.

Every few minutes you should add a few tablespoons of water to deglaze the pan. The amount of times, and frequency at which you’ll want to do this depends on a number of factors. But I’ll typically add more water whenever I get a significant number of brown bits that collect on the bottom of the pan.

With this batch of confit, I went through a total of 1 1/2 to 2 cups of water, and probably added water about every 5 to 7 minutes.

5. Transfer hot confit to a jar and screw on the lid immediately. Store in the refrigerator for up to three weeks.

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