Leek Soldiers and Vermouth Rice

I made this recipe out of my fabulous new cookbook. We downsized the recipe to feed just Ben, Ophelia and I so I didn’t have to pack them in with wax paper, I just used a smaller casserole. I served it with chicken and rice, but I think a white fish would have gone with it well, too.  I learned this little trick of a) using chicken broth instead of water and b) adding a splash of vermouth when I’m cooking rice. It adds a nice kick of flavor and will taste more like an entrée then a filler. Also, I don’t typically save the juices from my dishes after I serve them, but this one smelled so divine I decided to break a rule. I refrigerated the leftover butter/garlic/leek/broth mixture and used it too fry my breakfast eggs in, until I used all of it in my risotto. It was delicious each time, so rest assured this meal wastes nothing! Here is the link to another woman who made this recipe and took pictures (I was too busy eating to grab my camera!)


  • 12 Leeks
  • Olive Oil
  • 4 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely sliced
  • a small bunch of thyme, leaves picked
  • a knob of butter
  • a wineglass of white wine
  • 1 cup of chicken or vegetable stock
  • 8 slices of bacon

Preheat your oven to 400’F. Ideally you need a 10 inch buttered oven-proof dish about 1 1/2 inches high. Trim the ends of the leeks, leaving the remaining pale green and white sections in 2 inch pieces. Finely slice and wash the dark green pieces, and put them in a frying pan with a glug of olive oil, the garlic, thyme and butter. Cook for about 10 minutes until softened and spread them out in the bottom of your dish.

Stand the remaining pieces of leek upright next to each other in the dish. Pack them in really tightly so that the flavors from underneath, and from the bacon that you’re going to put on top, will cook subtly and evenly through the leeks.

Add the wine and stock and lay the bacon over the top. Get a big strip of wax paper and wet it under the tap and scrunch it up tightly, fit it snugly over and around the leeks and bacon, then cover with a layer of aluminum foil. Place the dish in the oven for about an hour. The leeks should be nice and tender by this point, but if not, give them a little longer — and it will depend on the age and the size of the leeks. Once tender and soft, remove the foil and wax paper, and put the dish back for 20 minutes or until the bacon is crisp and golden. Remove the bacon, finely chop it, taste the juice in the dish for seasoning and adjust it if need be. Serve the leeks at the table sprinkled with crispy bacon.


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