Probably one of the best and most useful skills a person in the kitchen, at home or professionally, can acquire is to lift an ingredient. a priori simple to the next level, making the most of its flavor, playing with its texture and presenting it in very well combined dishes. Today’s recipe is a – hopefully successful – attempt to capture that.
For some reason, leek hasn’t caught up with the popularity of onion and garlic in our kitchen. I suspect that the complications of storing this vegetable for long periods of time have rendered its two sisters of the genus allium have gained popularity. Leek isn’t the protagonist of too many Spanish recipes, beyond porrusalda, and has been relegated to broths, soups and the occasional stir-fry. However, the leek, with its subtle, sweet flavor, can be as valuable a vegetable as any.
There are different ways to cook it and with each of them a different result is obtained. In this case we have chosen to use the white part, candiing it over very low heat, although the recipe can also work roasting them. Does confit have science? Not too. It is important that the leeks are well coated with olive oil, so keep in mind that the 500ml indicated in the recipe may vary depending on the pan you are cooking them with or the size of the leeks ( which I advise you to look for those that are no more than two centimeters in diameter).
Holding these leeks at their best, we have roasted pumpkin puree, the cooking method that most enhances its sweetness and the one that makes it the easiest to peel. The cucurbita maxima It is a good option for purees because it contains less water than others and its flavor is more intense, which makes the puree creamier and tastier. That doesn’t mean you can’t use others like the peanut variety, or swap the pumpkin puree for a potato or sweet potato.
Confit the leeks over very low heat.
- 1 kg of pumpkin
- 4 leeks
- Extra virgin olive oil to cover the leeks
- 20g of butter
- 50 g shelled and toasted hazelnuts
- fresh thyme or other herbs
- fine salt
- flake salt
- Black pepper
Turn on the oven at 180°C. Eliminate the roots and the green part of the leeks (except to use it in a broth, a soup or any other preparation) to keep only the white part. Remove the outer layer, wash very well and cut the white part into six or seven centimeter pieces.
Place the leeks in a saucepan and cover with extra virgin olive oil. Add a sprig of fresh thyme. Cook over very low heat for 50 minutes or until completely tender.
Wash and cut the pumpkin into large pieces. Remove the seeds and place them on a baking sheet skin side down. Add the olive oil, salt and pepper and stir with clean hands until everything is evenly distributed. Bake for 40 minutes or until meat is tender when pierced.
When the pumpkin is ready, peel it carefully so as not to burn yourself and place it in a bowl. Flatten with a fork, add butter, salt and pepper.
Place the mash on a tray as a base. Remove the leeks from the oil, trying to drain them as much as possible and place them on the mash.
Finish with fresh thyme, chopped hazelnuts, flaked salt and freshly ground black pepper.
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