I never try new dishes when I am serving guests. But last year I found myself at the market just days before Rosh Hashanah and spotted the most beautiful leeks. While leeks are not an ingredient that I cook with often, they were calling out to me and I knew I needed to use them for our holiday meal, even despite my fear that the dish might be a huge flop. The recipe was a big hit with all 15 of my guests and so I wanted to share this simple, symbolic and delicious side dish.
A few notes – leeks can be gritty and have sand buried in them, so wash them very well before cooking. Leeks are delicate in flavor and those flavors deepen as they are cooked, making them sweeter.
6 medium leeks, white and light green parts only
15 small sprigs of fresh thyme
¼ cup olive oil
1 Tbsp dry white wine
2 Tbsp pomegranate juice
¼ cup pomegranate seeds
Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.
Cut leeks length wise down the middle.
Arrange the leek halves cut side down in a snug single layer in a shallow 8-inch square baking dish. Nestle the thyme sprigs among the leeks. In a small bowl, mix the olive oil, wine, and pomegranate juice and drizzle over the leeks. Sprinkle evenly with 1/2 tsp. salt.
Cover the baking dish tightly with aluminum foil.
Braise the leeks in the oven until completely tender and easy to pierce with a fork, about 45 minutes. Uncover the dish and continue to braise until the leeks are caramelized, about 15 minutes more.
Serve the leeks warm or at room temperature. When ready to serve, spread the fresh pomegranate seeds over the leeks.