• Yield: Serves 6

  • Time: 30 minutes prep, 30 minutes cooking, 1 hour total

This method is used all around the Mediterranean to cook winter and spring vegetables such as leeks in this recipe, artichokes, cardoons, celery, celery root, fat green beans, favas, and white turnips. The vegetables turn creamy within while remaining firm enough to hold their shape. The method also sweetens slightly bitter vegetables, such as cardoons, by caramelizing them ever so slightly.

Serve these leeks later in the day, or, even, better, the following day.


  • 2 pounds leeks, roots trimmed, thick outer skins removed

  • 1/3 cup chopped onion

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced

  • 2 teaspoons sugar

  • 1 tablespoon rice, preferably medium-grain

  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

  • Juice of 1/2 lemon, or more to taste

  • 1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley


1. Soak the leeks in warm water for 30 minutes. Drain and cut into 2-inch lengths. Thoroughly rinse to remove any sand. Drain well.

2. Combine the onion, olive oil, and carrots in a large, heavy casserole and cook over medium heat, stirring, for 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the leeks and sugar, cover with a sheet of crumpled parchment paper or foil and a tight-fitting lid, reduce the heat to low, and cook for 20 minutes. (Leeks and carrots should cook in their own moisture. If necessary, add 1 tablespoon water.)

3. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, soak the rice in hot water to cover for 10 minutes; drain.

4. Add the rice to the leeks. Season with salt and pepper, and cook, tightly covered, over low heat for 20 minutes longer.

5. Remove from the heat and add the lemon juice. Leave the pan uncovered to cool before transferring the leeks to a serving dish. Spoon the vegetables and rice over the leeks, garnish with the chopped parsley, and serve at room temperature or chilled.

Adapted from The Slow Mediterranean Kitchen: Recipes for the Passionate Cook by Paula Wolfert

Paula Wolfert is the author of five cookbooks. She has won numerous awards, including the Julia Child award, the James Beard award, the M.F.K. Fisher Award for Excellence in Culinary Writing and the Tastemaker award, and has been a finalist for the Andre Simon award.