Thursday, November 5, 2015

Week 44 - Welsh

When I started doing research for Week 44's Welsh theme, I stumbled across this site on BBC Good Food, which had so many recipes that sounded delicious. I saved a whole bunch of them and found myself exclaiming to A that the Welsh must love leeks, because all these recipes were full of leeks. It was a little later that I realized that it was because it was an entire list of recipes for St. David's Day, the feast day of the patron saint of Wales whose personal symbol was a leek. Maybe there were other Welsh recipes, but after I found that site, I was pretty much obsessed with making leek-filled recipes, and had taken to calling it leeks week. There were so many recipes I wanted to make but I narrowed it down to two. The first one I made was based on this recipe for leeks with bacon and mushrooms which they recommended serving with a roast, but which I made on the side of our Week 45 English toastie.

The ingredients for the recipe were simple:

- 1 tbsp of butter ($0.20)
- 4 strips of bacon, chopped ($2.25)
- 10 oz cremini mushrooms, chopped ($1.99)
- most of a bag of frozen sliced leeks * ($1.34)
- salt and pepper ($0.05)
- dried thyme ($0.20)

* I would have used the entire bag of leeks, except I put aside a few of them to use for the other half of the meal which was the toastie.

The cost was a little over $6, which seems like a lot for a side, except for the fact that it had a lot of bacon in it. Once we tasted it, it was totally worth the price.

The steps to make the dish were:

1. Prep - chop bacon, chop mushrooms.

2. Melt butter in large pan over medium heat. Add bacon strips and fry for a few minutes, letting some of the fat render.

3. Add mushrooms, leeks (I separated out some of the layers when adding them to the pan), salt, pepper, thyme. Coat everything in the butter/bacon fat.

4. Cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer for about 20-30 minutes. If there's still liquid in the pan, continue simmering with the cover off until it is at a level you like.

This dish was so good. Between the toastie and the leeks, we had such a good dinner. All the flavors melded together so well, and all the vegetables were infused with the richness of the butter, the thyme, and that awesome applewood smoked flavor. The flavor of the leeks really came through too, and since I love leeks, I was pretty happy about that. It was a decadent yet healthy tasting dish, and despite the butter and bacon, it still felt light because the majority of the components were vegetables.

We would definitely make this dish again. They were right - it would go really well as the side to a roast, so I'm seriously considering making it again at Thanksgiving. I'm really glad I had leftovers for breakfast so I could enjoy this for two days instead of one!

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