Braised Leeks and a Grain Class

What do you get a girl who loves to cook but has almost every cooking supply known? My friend Lisa decided to have us take a cooking class together. I got to pick which one. We went to a place called the Pantry and I had us sign up for a class about whole grains. I know, I know, you might wonder why I signed up for a seemingly healthy class. Well, the classes fill up really quickly, so there were a few interesting ones that were filled. There was also my work schedule. Most of the classes were during the week around dinner time, and I would have had to drive into the city during rush hour. I was able to find one on a Friday (slower day at work) that sounded interesting. Plus, every single ingredient in every recipe was something I either like, use, or want to learn to use. Yay! So, I thought it would be a good learning experience.

Braised leeks with a main course you will learn about in a future post.

Braised leeks with a main course you will learn about in a future post.

She was good about letting us know about the differences between the grains and how you can use them. Basically, quinoa is the big hero in the world right now, but these other grains are also good for some protein and nutrients: farro, millet, and wild rice. The recipes tended to be very simple and easy to follow. But, as we went, there were lots of tidbits thrown out. I enjoyed the information…but I did learn that I have a cooking class fear. Each time she asked for a volunteer to help prep ingredients I would start freaking out that I would get called on. In regular school, I was usually fine being called on, but apparently not with cooking. Oh well! I ended up having to prep a couple things and managed to live, so you know, all good.

Millet cake with salmon in it and pretty chive flowers on top.

Millet cake with salmon in it and pretty chive flowers on top.

As we went, we tasted the grains in their plain form, and then, at the end, we were able to eat the courses. Everything tasted really good and could definitely be incorporated into my home cooking. Not long after, I went to the store and picked up some millet and farro. What’s cool is that I could buy them in a bulk bin and not have to worry about buying a huge amount right off the bat. We ate the millet first. It cooks like rice with the timing. I was not 100% pleased with how it turned out. Next time I will try to experiment to see what needed to change. K still liked it, but he didn’t get to try the teacher’s.

A gratin with wild rice.

A gratin with wild rice.

Farro in a salad with asparagus

Farro in a salad with asparagus

The inside of the gratin and more farro

The inside of the gratin and more farro (ignore the plating–I was hungry!!!)

Another recipe I picked up from the teacher was braising leeks. I had cooked leeks in risotto before, and in roasted chicken, but not with braising. Basically, you just need to allow lots of time to cook them slowly. She told us that they like to be cooked low, slow, and wet. We ate the leeks by themselves because the green beans I wanted to have with them had gone bad (sad face), but I recommend eating them with something. Basically, any food that tastes good with onion would partner well with leeks.

Red quinoa...for dessert!? Also the first time I ever ate rhubarb. Both were really good. Think tapioca/rice pudding.

Red quinoa…for dessert!? Also the first time I ever ate rhubarb. Both were really good. Think tapioca/rice pudding.

If there are any of these recipes people would like me to share, let me know and I might attempt to recreate them at home soon. I will say that millet tossed with some herbs, butter, and reheated with an egg…pretty awesome.

Directions for Braised Leeks

  • 1 leek
  • 3 Tablespoons butter (or more, if the leek is large)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup water

Prep the leeks by cutting off the dry green ends and peeling off the outer dried layers.

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Cut the leek down the middle, vertically.

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Then, separate the layers under running water to rinse out any dirt. Chop the leeks creating half-moons about 1/4 inch wide.

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You want the yellow and light green parts. In a saucepan, add the leek, butter, salt, and water.

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Heat over low and bring the mixture to just barely bubbling. Cover and cook for about 30-40 minutes (or even up to an hour) until the leeks are super buttery and soft. Add more butter or water if it dries out too much.

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Directions for Braised Leeks (without pictures)

  • 1 leek
  • 3 Tablespoons butter (or more, if the leek is large)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup water

Prep the leeks by cutting off the dry green ends and peeling off the outer dried layers. Cut the leek down the middle, vertically. Then, separate the layers under running water to rinse out any dirt. Chop the leeks creating half-moons about 1/4 inch wide. You want the yellow and light green parts. In a saucepan, add the leek, butter, salt, and water. Heat over low and bring the mixture to just barely bubbling. Cover and cook for about 30-40 minutes (or even up to an hour) until the leeks are super buttery and soft. Add more butter or water if it dries out too much.

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7 thoughts on “Braised Leeks and a Grain Class

  1. This was so fun and I was happy you chose the class 🙂 Awesome that you posted the braised leeks recipe too! I’m excited to see what you did with farro you bought!

  2. Sounds like a great class (I’m really surprised by your volunteer “phobia”, btw… :)! I’d love to try millet. I only recently started cooking wheatberries and I just love it. I can’t stop looking at the farro with asparagus – looks so good!

  3. Thanks for the braised leeks pictures. I’ll have to try that.
    Oh, and great job getting me hooked with the opening question. A cooking class is a perfect idea for a gift.

  4. Pingback: Farro and Asparagus Salad | fudgingahead

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