This next recipe is from another guest blogger, who is a close friend and one of the most resilient and beautiful woman I have been blessed to know. Her beauty shines although she will deny it and her creativity is unmatched.
Thank you for sharing this great dish!
I did not grow up with this dish but it is a fairly common variation of rice in families of Greek Orthodox descent. I have adapted it from a small recipe book from my church. When I saw the leeks at the supermarket yesterday, I was inspired to make it for our dinner guests-- usually a Lenten staple of mine but sadly forgotten for a while. The most important part of this recipe is the prep work: the leeks need to be washed 3 or 4 times because they can be pull of sand and dirt. These batches of leeks were some of the sandiest I've ever worked with!
When my father was living as a young boy through the German occupation of Athens, there wasn't much to eat. One day my Yiayia sold some jewelry and came home with a bag of food for the starving family. When my father looked in the bag, he recalls, "it was only a bag of prassa (leeks)". My father couldn't understand that was all she could get for the gold. When I make this recipe, it reminds me of that story and how fortunate and blessed we are, despite the ongoing "recession". We do not really know or understand 'hard times' and sacrifice like our parents or grandparents do.
1 bunch of 3-4 leeks
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup rice (long grain)
small can diced tomates
4 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped (or lesser amount dry)
2 stalks celery, chopped (optional)
1 1/2 cups warm water
Cut leeks in 1/2 inch to 1 inch sections. Use the white part and the tender green part - which is basically 3/4 of the stalk. Separate the rings and rinse them in a bowl several times to remove the sand and dirt. You may have to remove some outer tough/dirty layers before you cut them. Drain well.
In a medium pot, heat the oil and saute the leeks (and celery) for 3-5 minutes. Add the rice and stir to coat it. Add the diced tomatoes, dill, salt, pepper and water. Stir it, cover and when it starts boiling, lower the heat to simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat when the rice is cooked, leeks are tender and most of the water is absorbed.
Remove from heat, drizzle a little olive oil and then add some fresh lemon juice.
I can attest and am so glad she remembered this gem.
We were the guests and it was delicious!
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