Turkish Style Braised Leeks Recipe
This Turkish style braised leeks recipe, or prasa, uses an unsung hero of the vegetable world, the leek. Leeks are combined with extra virgin olive oil, carrots, lemon, and a small amount of white rice for a dish that tastes much more than the sum of its parts.
Leeks are in the same family as onions and garlic, and have a similar, but milder flavor. They can be substituted for onions, and make a great addition to soups and stews. Use the more tender white and light green parts of the leek in this dish, and save the dark green tougher part of the leek for stock or broth.
Leeks often have dirt hidden in their many layers. To clean them, cut off the root end. Slice in half lengthwise ⅔ up the length of the leek. Using your hands, separate the many layers, and look for dirt. Run leeks under cold water, until the dirt rinses away. You may also soak the leeks in a bowl of cold water–let the sand sink to the bottom of the bowl and then lift the leeks out, leaving the dirt behind.
A large amount of my vegetable cooking skills come from my Turkish heritage. There is an entire category of dishes in Turkish cuisine called ‘Zeytinyagli’, or ‘With Olive Oil.’ These are basically simple preparations of seasonal vegetables slowly cooked in olive oil. Simple to prepare, and easy to have on hand, as part, or all of, a healthy meal.
The simple few ingredients in this recipe create something amazingly delicious and comforting. Do not be intimidated by the amount of olive oil in this recipe, it is essential to the dish.
- 1 large onion
- 1 large carrot
- 3 medium leeks
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2/3 cup water
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt or to taste
- 3 Tablespoons white rice*
- 2 Tablespoons lemon juice freshly squeezed
Finely dice onion. Cut carrot into half moons (in half lengthwise then slice horizontally). Use white and light green parts of leeks only, thoroughly clean, and cut into 1/3 inch rounds.
Heat olive oil in a pot over medium heat and add diced onion, cook until starting to soften. Add carrots and cook until starting to soften. Add leeks and stir for a couple of minutes. Add water, sugar and salt. When the water boils, add rice and lemon juice. Cook, covered, on low heat, until rice is cooked through, about 20 minutes.
This dish is best served cold, or at room temperature with a squeeze of lemon and a slice of crusty bread.
*Note: If you prefer to use brown rice, be sure it is already cooked before adding it to the dish.