Turkish leeks with carrots and rice
1/2 cup olive oil
1 kg leeks, cleaned and cut into 1 1/2-inch lengths
2 medium-large carrots, peeled, halved lengthwise and cut crosswise into 1/4 inch slices
2 tablespoons basmati rice, washed
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup water
salt and pepper
lemon to serve
Clean the leeks by taking off at least one outer layer of leaf and skin. Cut off the tough green leaves, leaving a tuft at the top. Cut a slit into the tuft vertically, barely cutting into the white. If you look at the leek from the top it will have a sort of boat shape - cut along the length of the boat shape, and open out the leaves. You will see mud and sand stains inside. Wash these meticulously, take off the roots at the other end and voila!
Cook in an open frying pan.
Heat the olive oil on medium heat and stir in the rice.
After a minute or two, stir in the carrots.
After another minute or two stir in the leeks and the sugar.
Add the water, and let it simmer, stirring occasionally to prevent the rice from sticking, but taking great care that you do not squash the rice or break it.
Add spoonfuls of water if and when necessary to reach at the end a moist but not at all watery or mushy consistency.
The dish should be cooked in 20-30 minutes.
Go slow on salt and pepper to preserve the delicate sweetness.
Serve at room temperature with lemon to squeeze over.
Pairs Well With
A little bit tricky to cook the rice till properly done without turning the dish into a mush. This one of a standard series of Turkish vegetable dishes called 'zeytinyagli' - 'with olive oil'; the fruity quality and quantity of the olive oil is all-important. The dish has a most delicate flavour.