Leeks are around all through the year these days and they are native to Anatolia, along with carrots. This “Zeytinyagli”(vegetables cooked in oil) recipe is wonderfully refreshing and comforting all through the year. Traditionally, we like to cook zeytinyagli dishes ahead of time, and allow the dish to cool and rest in its pan for the flavors to blend well.
The recipe is very easy to make, delicious and healthy – also vegan and gluten-free. You can keep in the fridge up to 3 days (flavors blend even better the next day!) and we serve them cold or room temperature. This recipe made a wonderful lunch for me with some crusty bread and squeeze of lemon by the side. You can serve as an appetizer, meze or as a side dish to accompany main dishes.
Turkish cuisine is based on seasonal produce and offers delicious, wholesome, easy to make meals, most of them good for vegan and gluten-free diet too. This and over 90 authentic Turkish recipes are included at my cookery book, Ozlem’s Turkish Table, Recipes from My Homeland and delivered promptly worldwide. Signed copies are available to order at this link – while the stocks last! – if you’d like.
Serves 4 – 6
Preparation time: 15 minutes Cooking time: 35 minutes
500 gr/1.1 lb fresh leeks, washed and sliced diagonally into bite size pieces
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 medium carrot, thinly sliced
15 ml/1 tablespoon long grain rice, washed and drained
60 ml/2 fl oz/1/4 cup olive oil
240 ml /8 fl oz / 1 cup hot water
5 ml/1 teaspoon salt
5 ml/1 teaspoon caster sugar
Juice of 1 lemon
Chopped fresh dill for garnish (optional)
Lemon wedges to squeeze over
In a wide, heavy pan, gently heat the olive oil and sauté the onions and carrots for 5 minutes. Add the leeks and stir occasionally, taking care so they don’t scorch. When the vegetables start to soften, add the rice, hot water, lemon juice, salt and sugar.
Cover and cook gently over low heat for about 20 minutes or until the rice and vegetables are tender and the cooking liquid is absorbed. Avoid stirring during cooking, as this will disturb starch in the grains of rice.
Remove from the heat, cover with an absorbent kitchen cloth or paper towel and replace the lid. This will help to absorb any excess moisture. Set aside to cool.
Transfer to a serving dish, sprinkle with chopped dill if you would like. Serve with lemon wedges to squeeze over and some crusty bread by the side.