Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Creamy Leeks with Chickpeas (and also, Pancetta)

I tried a recipe that appeared in the New York Times a few weeks ago for "Sauteed Leeks with Chickpeas" last night and realized that I had found the perfect autumnal side dish. Of course, what truly makes it delectable is neither leek nor chickpea, but pancetta aka italian bacon!

Note: although the recipe reminds the cook to add water often if needed to keep leeks from sticking, I had the opposite problem. If you do too, just keep the cover off the pan for a few minutes until some of the liquid evaporates, then re-cover.

Sauteed Leeks with Chickpeas

Adapted from Marcella Hazan

Time: 1 hour 10 minutes

2 pounds leeks, white and light green parts only, cut into 2-inch lengths

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 slice pancetta, about 1/2-inch thick (approximately 1/4 pound), cut into strips about 1 inch long and 1/4 inch wide

1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained, or 1 1/2 cups cooked drained chickpeas

Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

1. Separate layers of leek segments that will come apart easily. Place leeks in a bowl of cold water and allow to soak for at least 20 minutes. Drain well.

2. Combine oil and pancetta in a large skillet over medium heat. Sauté pancetta until lightly browned. Add drained leeks and 3 tablespoons water. Cover and reduce heat to low. Cook until leeks become very soft and almost creamy, about 30 minutes; stir occasionally, adding 1 to 2 tablespoons water when necessary to replenish liquid in pan.

3. Add chickpeas, turning them in the leeks to mix them well. Season to taste with salt and liberal grindings of pepper. Cover, increase heat to medium, and cook for 10 more minutes; stir occasionally to make sure leeks do not stick to pan and, if necessary, add a tablespoon or 2 of water.

4. Transfer contents of pan, with any juices, to a warm serving dish. This can be prepared up to 1 hour ahead of time; keep in pan and reheat slowly on stovetop before serving.

Yield: 6 servings.


Leslie said...

I made this dish Friday night as my first adventure in cooking in a VERY long time. It was simple, delicious and a big hit with my dinner guests! Yesterday I realized that I added more chickpeas than the recipe called for, but it still turned out great. Thanks for posting the recipe!
- leslie

Leslie said...

I just realized it looks like leslie k. just commented on her own recipe and just cooked for the very first time. I should have used a different signature, it's leslie goldberg borkow.