Braised Spring Carrots and Leeks with Tarragon

Bunch carrots

They’re BACK! Bunched carrots are coming out of the greenhouse and into your tummy!

2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 lb. leeks, white and light green parts only, halved lengthwise, cleaned and sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 lb. carrots, peeled, halved or quartered lengthwise if thick, then cut in 2-inch lengths
½ cup water
Salt to taste
2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh tarragon

Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan or lidded skillet over medium heat. Add leeks and a generous pinch of salt. Cook gently until just about tender, about three minutes. Do not allow leeks to color. Add garlic, and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 30 seconds to a minute. Add carrots, water and salt to taste, and lower heat. Cover and simmer 10 to 15 minutes until carrots are tender when pierced with a knife. Stir in lemon juice and tarragon. Taste and adjust salt. Serve hot, or at room temperature. Sprinkle with additional fresh tarragon just before serving.

We thank cooking.nytimes.com for this recipe.

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Sunchoke Soup

sunchokes

Sunchokes are a knobby but delicious root vegetable. Not to be confused with ginger, which is a common mistake, sunchokes offer a sweet and nutty crunch to your winter menus.

2 pounds sunchokes
3 tablespoons butter
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped leek (white and pale green parts only)
2 cloves garlic, chopped
7 cups (or more) vegetable broth
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
Ground white pepper
Shelled and roasted pumpkin seeds

Rinse and scrub sunchokes to remove all soil. Melt butter in heavy large pot over medium heat. Add onion, leek, and garlic; sprinkle with salt and sauté until soft and translucent, stirring often, about 12 minutes. Cut sunchokes into 1-inch pieces. Add to onion mixture and sauté 5 minutes. Add vegetable broth, increase heat to high, and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until chokes are very tender, about 1 hour. Cool slightly.

Working in batches, puree soup in blender until very smooth. Return to pot. Rewarm soup, adding more broth by 1/4 cups, if needed, to thin. Stir in cream and season to taste with salt and white pepper.

This soup can be made 1 day ahead and refrigerated. Rewarm before serving. Divide soup among bowls and garnish with toasted pumpkin seeds; top with a drizzle of pumpkin seed oil and some sautéed mushrooms, if desired.
 
Recipe adapted from epicurious.com.

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Easy French Leek Pie

leeks

Aw yeah, leeks ‘n’ cheese!

Prep: 10 min, Cook 40 min, Ready in 1 hour

1 9-inch pie crust
2 teaspoons butter
3 leeks, chopped
1 pinch salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup light cream
1 1/4 cups shredded Gruyere cheese

For the pie crust, consider using the pie crust recipe at the bottom of this recipe.

Preheat oven to 375°F (190° C).

Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir in leeks; cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes, or until soft. Season with salt and pepper. Reduce heat to low. Stir in cream and cheese, and warm through. Pour mixture into pie shell and bake for 30 minutes, or until custard is set and golden on top. Allow to sit 10 minutes before cutting into wedges.

We thank allrecipes.com for this recipe.

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Leeks Braised with Garlic and Wine

leeks

This dish is a nice transition from winter to spring. Sometimes we still need comfort food, especially when we’re tired and not quite ready to embrace longer, warmer, sunnier days. This dish can be tossed with pasta or with hearty greens.

4 big leeks, well washed and patted dry
4 big cloves of garlic, peeled and finely sliced
6 tablespoons butter
2 wineglasses of white wine
1 cup chicken stock
Half a lemon, sliced
Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper

Trim the brown ends of the green leeks off and discard. Then cut the rest of the fresh, green part of the leeks away from the round white bulbs. Finely slice the green parts and reserve. Rinse the white parts well and slice into 1-inch rounds.

In a large shallow frying pan melt the butter over medium heat. Slowly fry the garlic in the butter with the dark green leek tops until the garlic is softened but not colored. Go slow and let the garlic infuse the butter.

Add the pieces of white leek and toss them in the flavored butter. Add salt and pepper to taste and toss as well. Pour into a baking pan, squeeze the lemon over and toss it in, then pour the wine and stock in and cover with a square of baking parchment.

Bake in the oven at 350°F for 35 minutes or until tender and tasty. The butter should emulsify with the stock and wine to create a slightly shiny broth. Pour over a batch of pasta, or eat directly from a bowl with a large spoon!

Recipe adapted from thekitchn.com.

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Shepherd’s Pie

This version of shepherd’s pie is quite reminiscent of the dish from Britain with a few small tweaks to make use of all the gorgeous produce we have as we move into spring.

1 tablespoon high heat oil
2 leeks, peeled and chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
1 pound ground beef or Nash’s ground pork
2 cloves garlic, diced
1 cup beef or chicken broth
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon chopped rosemary
1 tablespoon chopped Italian parsley
1 cup diced broccoli, broccolini, or Nash’s purple broccoli
2 pounds Nash’s huckleberry gold potatoes, cut into chunks
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup milk (any fat content — I prefer full fat, you can also sub yogurt here)
Kosher salt to taste

Preheat oven to 375°F. In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, heat the oil, then add the leek, carrot, and meat. Cook until browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Throw the diced garlic and broccoli in after 5 minutes. Drain the fat and add the broth, tomato paste, and herbs. Simmer until the juices thicken, about 10 minutes. Pour the mixture into a 1 1/2-quart baking dish; set aside.

Meanwhile, bring the potatoes to a boil in salted water. Cook until tender, about 20 minutes; drain. Mash the potatoes with the butter, milk (or yogurt) and salt. Spread them over the meat mixture, then crosshatch the top with a fork. Bake until golden, 30 to 35 minutes.

Recipe adapted from epicurious.com.

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Diana Fava Bean Soup

diana fava beans

This simple soup is delicious. Serve alongside Nash’s roasted root vegetables for a nourishing winter meal.

4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large yellow onion or 2 small leeks, chopped
1 sprig rosemary, pulled from stem and chopped
1 teaspoon thyme
3 cups chicken or vegetable stock
2 cups cooked Nash’s diana fava beans
1 teaspoon sea salt
3/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano, divided
Freshly ground black pepper

Cover 1 3/4 cups dried favas with water and soak overnight. Drain, rinse, cover with water and cook for 45 minutes or until tender.

Melt butter over medium heat in a large saucepan. Add onion, rosemary and thyme and sauté until onion is soft, about 5 minutes. Add chicken stock, beans and salt. Lower heat and simmer for about 10 minutes. Add 1/2 cup Pecorino Romano and then puree soup with a hand immersion blender or pour into a blender and puree (ensure the soup is cool enough and puree in small batches to avoid splatter). Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve with a dollop of sour cream or yogurt, and sprinkle with remaining cheese.

We thank Virginia Newman for this recipe.

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Creamy Garlic Soup

2 tablespoons peanut oil
1 leek, white and tender greens, halved lengthwise and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
8-10 small cloves garlic, peeled and crushed (2 tablsepoons)
2 cups chicken stock or low-sodium broth
1 pound potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch chunks
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 slices good quality sandwich bread, crusts removed, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 tablsepoon canola oil
1 cup milk (whole or skim)
Finely chopped fresh chervil, chives, tarragon, parsley or basil

Preheat the oven to 400. In a large saucepan, heat the peanut oil. Add the leek, onion and garlic and cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally until just softened, about 2 minutes. Add the chicken stock, potato chunks, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper and 2 cups of water and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low cover and summer until the vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, toss the bread cubes with the canola oil. Spread the cubes on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for about 6 minutes, or until golden.

Strain the soup into a clean saucepan. In a blender or food processor, puree the vegetables with a little of the liquid until smooth. Return the puree to the pan and stir in the milk. Bring the soup just to a simmer over moderately high heat. Season with salt and pepper and serve in shallow bowls, garnished with chopped fresh herbs and the croutons.

We thank Jacques Pepin for this recipe.

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Hearty Mushroom and Oat Groat Soup

Whole Grain Naked OatsIt’s a great time of year to get your natural source of vitamin D in mushrooms. Snuggle up with a warm cup of this soup!

1/2 ounce dried mushrooms, rehydrated
3/4 cup boiling water
1/4 cup olive oil
3 medium leeks, quartered lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound mixed fresh mushrooms
6 cups vegetable stock or canned low-sodium broth
1/2 cup oat groats, soaked overnight and drained
2 medium carrots, thinly sliced
1 medium parsnip, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon minced thyme
1/2 teaspoon minced rosemary
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons minced parsley

In a heatproof bowl, soak the dried mushrooms in the boiling water until softened, about 20 minutes. Remove the mushrooms and reserve the liquid separately. Thinly slice the mushrooms.

Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot. Add the leeks and garlic and cook over moderately low heat, stirring, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Thinly slice the fresh mushrooms and add them and the reconstituted mushrooms to the pot. Cook, stirring, until the liquid has evaporated, about 10 minutes. Add the reserved mushroom liquid and the stock, oat groats, carrots, parsnip, balsamic vinegar, thyme and rosemary and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook over moderately low heat until the oat groats are tender, about 35 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and stir in the parsley. Serve piping hot.

Recipe adapted from foodandwine.com.

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Parsnip, Mushroom and Leek Gratin

parsnips n pumpkins

Potatoes aren’t the only root vegetable that works well as a gratin.

1 1 /2 pound parsnips
1 tablespoon butter plus more for buttering dish
2 tablespoons olive oil
4-5 ounces mixed fresh mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
3 leeks, white and light green parts, cleaned and sliced lengthwise
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1/3 cup dry white wine
1 cup Parmesan cheese
1 3/4 cup heavy cream
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Slice parsnips about 1/4 inch thick on an extreme angle so as to get the largest slices possible. Butter a 12 x 8 inch baking dish and preheat the oven to 400 ° F.

In a medium skillet, over medium high heat, warm the butter and olive oil. Add mushrooms and leeks along with a pinch of salt and sauté, stirring occasionally, until they release all their liquid and begin to brown. Add thyme and white wine and cook, stirring, until wine evaporates. Set aside.

Begin to layer the ingredients into the dish beginning with a single layer of parsnip slices, followed by salt and pepper, followed by half of the leek/mushroom mixture and half the Parmesan. Repeat with parsnips, more salt and pepper, the remaining leek/mushroom mixture, and most of the remaining Parmesan, reserving a little for the top.

The final layer should consist of the remaining parsnips. Pour the cream over and push down with the back of a spoon to submerge everything as much as possible. Sprinkle the remaining Parmesan on top and cover. Bake for half an hour and check for tenderness. When the parsnips are nearly tender, uncover and continue to bake uncovered for an additional 15 minutes or until the top begins to brown and all the cream has been absorbed. Let sit for about 10 minutes before cutting and serving. Serves 6 to 8.

Recipe from TheKitchn.com.

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Chickpea Pancakes with Leeks, Squash, and Yogurt

Butternut winter squash

Gluten-free savory pancakes! Courtesy of chickpea flour and winter squash, plus a few other tasty ingredients.

6 tablespoons high-heat oil (safflower, sunflower, or canola), divided
1 medium leek, white and pale-green parts only, chopped
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup grated peeled squash (such as butternut or kabocha)
1 large egg
3/4 cup chickpea flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh parsley
Salt

Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet, preferably nonstick, over medium-high. Add leek, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until leek is softened and starting to brown, about 4 minutes. Add squash and season again. Cook, stirring often, until squash is cooked through and softened, about 4 minutes. Transfer vegetables to a plate and let cool. Wipe out skillet and reserve.

Meanwhile, whisk egg, chickpea flour, baking powder, 1 tablespoon oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 cup water in a medium bowl; season with pepper and let sit 5 minutes for flour to hydrate. Stir vegetables into batter just to coat.

Heat 1 1/2 tablespoon oil in reserved skillet over medium-high. Add batter by the quarter-cupful to make 4 pancakes, gently flattening to about 1/4″ thick. Batter should spread easily—if it doesn’t, thin with a little water. Cook until bottoms are lightly browned and bubbles form on top, about 4 minutes. Use a spatula to carefully flip pancakes over and cook until browned and cooked through, about 2 minutes longer.

Transfer to a plate and tent with a sheet of foil to keep warm. Repeat with another 1 1/2 tablespoons oil and remaining batter. Serve pancakes topped with yogurt, parsley, sea salt, and pepper.

Recipe adapted from BonAppetit.com.

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