Friday, November 11, 2022

RECIPE: Leeks Coddled with Beans and (optional) Lamb

Yotam Ottolenghi posted the original recipe for this on his Instagram page and I was drooling!  I made it a few days later, replacing the olive oil with ghee.  I also added some lamb, because lamb and lentils go well together and I wanted to serve it as our meal.  

The leeks and lentils are delicious on their own, but the leek cream takes them to the amazing level!  

I followed the recipe mostly as written, but I suspect it would be just as good with any other bean, and much easier if you use canned!  I also suspect you don't have to baby the leeks they way they describe in the original recipe.  I'll post photos the next time I make it.

Original recipe: Confit leeks with lentils and lemon cream

Leeks Coddled with Beans and (optional) Lamb

Coddled Leeks with Lentils

Serves 2-3 as a meal


  • 5 leeks, cleaned and dark green leaves removed
  • 10 garlic cloves, halved
  • 1/2 t. dried thyme (I used powdered)
  • Himalayan pink salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup ghee, melted
  • 1 18 oz can lentils, white beans, or garbanzo beans, drained
  • Optional: 1 c. cooked lamb (I used canned stew meat)
  • 1/3 c. heavy cream
  • 2.25 t. Dijon mustard
  • 5 T. lemon juice, divided
  • 3 T. parsley chiffonade
  • 3 T. minced dill
  • 1 t. dried tarragon, crumbled (use 1 T fresh if you have it, I rarely do!)


Preheat oven to 350F.  Melt the ghee in an 8" x 12" baking dish while the oven is preheating. (I made this in our toaster oven, which was exactly the right size,)

Slice the leeks into 1/2" pieces.  Arrange the leeks cut side up in the preheated baking dish and nestle the garlic between them.  Baste the tops with some of the melted ghee.  Sprinkle with thyme, salt and pepper.

Leeks, garlic, ghee, and thyme ready for oven

Cover the top with a piece of parchment paper, then cover the dish tightly with foil and bake for 30 minutes.  (The parchment prevents the foil from touching the food.)

Remove the dish from the oven, remove the foil, and gently turn the leeks over using 2 forks or a pair of tongs.  Replace the foil cover and bake for another 30 minutes, until the leeks are completely soft.

Raise the heat to 400F.

Remove the dish from the oven and transfer 1/2 cup of cooked leeks and 5 cloves of garlic to the bowl of a food processor.  I transferred the light green leeks and left the white ones.

Add the drained beans (and the lamb if you're using it) to the pan with the leeks, season with salt and pepper, and toss gently to combine.  Return to the oven and bake for 15 minutes to heat the beans.  

While the beans bake, make the leek cream: add the cream, mustard, 1 T. lemon juice, and 1/2 t. salt to the leeks and garlic in the processor bowl and then puree until smooth.


Remove the pan with the leeks and beans from the oven, stir in the remaining 4 T. lemon juice, and sprinkle with the herbs.  Stir gently to combine.  Serve alongside the leek cream.  

In the photo below I stirred the leek cream into my portion.

Leeks, lentils, and leek cream - sublime!



Saturday, November 5, 2022

RECIPE: How to Roast Kabocha Squash Whole

I LOVE roasted sunshine kabocha squash - it is smooth, sweet, and creamy - but the larger ones are very hard to cut in half.  My friend roasts butternut squash whole so I decided to try roasting kabocha whole and it worked perfectly!

Sunshine kabocha is sort of squat, deep orange, and has a dark green star on the blossom end.  I apologize for the crummy photo of the star below but it's the only one I have!  The stem end is thick and also hard to cut through.  Sunshine doesn't keep well, so I roast it, puree it and freeze it.  Green kabocha isn't as sweet as sunshine, but it keeps longer and gets sweeter as it sits. 

How to Roast Kabocha Squash Whole

On the left: sunshine kabocha squash green star.  On the right: roasted sunshine kabocha puree.


Preheat oven to 425F.

WASH the outside of the squash!  Even though you won't be eating the skin, if there is dirt on it it will enter the flesh when you cut it open.

Arrange the squash on a baking pan - no need to pierce them - and roast until the outside is blistered and a knife can be easily inserted through the flesh.  No, they will not explode if you don't pierce them.  If anything, they will IMplode.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool on the baking pan.

Whole roasted sunshine kabocha squash

Remove the skin from the top half and discard it.  

In the photo below, I have my salad spinner bowl in the sink on the right, and I'm discarding skin and seeds into that bowl so we can put them out for the deer.  We don't put the seeds in our compost because they survive, and we don't put them in the trash because they attract bears.  We toss them in the forest behind our house and hope the deer find them before the bears do.

Remove the skin from the top half.

Remove the flesh from the top and transfer it to a food processor.  Take care to leave the seeds behind! 

Remove the flesh from the top exposing the seeds.

Remove the seeds and discard them.  Some people roast them but I've never had success with that. 

Remove the seeds.

Scrape the flesh from the remaining skin and transfer to the food processor.  

Remove the flesh from the bottom half.  A flat edge ice cream spoon is best for this.

Remove as much flesh as possible!

Process until smooth and creamy.  

I've never tried to do this in a blender.  I'm not sure it would work because the flesh is fairly dense and it might cause cavitation.  If you try it, please LMK whether it works!

Sunshine kabocha before and after being pureed in my food processor.

Transfer to a glass jar and refrigerate or freeze until needed.  


I use this to make pumpkin lattes, pumpkin soup, pumpkin mac and cheese, pumpkin martinis (recipe coming soon), and I'm going to attempt a pumpkin roll.