Baked Leeks with Cream and Tarragon
Cooks used to have to throw away about two-thirds of every leek because the tender shank was so short. Now breeders have given us leeks with much longer pale shanks, dramatically increasing the edible portion. For this recipe, look for leeks with a shank about six inches long, a size that fits in most baking dishes and is not too large to serve whole. By the end of the baking time, they will be bathed in a creamy tarragon sauce. Serve as a first course or as an accompaniment to roast chicken, pork or beef. Adapted from Fresh from the Farmers' Market.
- 8 medium leeks, about 3/4-inch in diameter
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup homemade or canned low-sodium chicken broth
- 1-1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh tarragon
- Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Cut off the dark-green leek tops, leaving only the white and pale-green shank. Trim the root end but leave the base intact to hold the leek together. Slit the top 3 inches of each leek lengthwise and rinse well under cold running water; dirt tends to get trapped between the layers. Pat the leeks dry, then arrange them in a low-sided baking dish just large enough to hold them in one layer.
In a small bowl, whisk together the cream, broth, mustard, tarragon and salt and pepper to taste. Pour over the leeks. Bake for 30 minutes, then turn the leeks over with tongs. Return to the oven and bake until the leeks have absorbed almost all of the creamy sauce and begun to brown on top, 35 to 45 minutes longer. Serve hot or warm.