Melted Leeks, Quinoa, and Poached Egg

by Meg Cotner on May 11, 2010

poached on top

I can’t remember exactly what originally brought me to Married …with dinner, but it was probably through a tweet or a blog post by Shauna.  Oh wait, I remember! I was led to the site because of this post.  It is part of the discussion about the importance of cooking meals at home, something that I do believe is important.

However, as someone who works a full time job, has a lively social life, and is active in the community, I know how challenging it can be to put together dinner at the end of the day when you have competing interests vying for your time and attention.  There are evenings when I get home, when I can’t think straight, and just want to order-in something, or eat a bowl of cereal, or even forgo dinner altogether (not a good idea).  It can be really hard to figure it all out when you’re beat from the workday.

As it turns out, my solution to this is planning out my meals for the week.  Granted, I’ve only been at this practice for a couple of weeks, but I’ve noticed a difference.  It helps to have the evening’s menu all written out, and I definitely eat more consistently well these days.

quinoa

Last week, MWD posted this intriguing recipe that includes a number of my favorite ingredients – leeks, quinoa, broth, and egg.  It could be considered a soup, but it’s much more than that.  It’s surprisingly filling for its size, too.  The nutrition will also increase if you use a nourishing homemade broth (I had broth from my stewing hen, which was delicious).

I can see myself making this again and again because it’s just that awesome.  It was easy to prepare, too – and it can be made piecemeal over a few days, combining everything on the day you want to eat it, or you can make everything on the same day, which is what I did.  It took me about 45 minutes to put everything together.

leeks

These “melted leeks” – which are basically soft, caramelized, salty leeks – are a wonderful condiment all by themselves and would be good on other things, too, like pasta, roasted tomatoes, or even toast with cream cheese.  They would be excellent on top of salsa verde chicken, too.

Melted Leeks and Quinoa with a Poached Farm Egg and Parmesan Broth
Mildly adapted from Married …with dinner, who was inspired by a first course at Range.

For each serving — multiply as needed:
1/3 cup melted leeks (recipe below)
1/2 cup cooked quinoa (I prefer red)
1/2 cup simmering chicken stock
a handful of Parmesan or other hard cheese, grated as finely as possible (about 1/2 oz by weight)
1 large egg, preferably pastured
minced chives, for garnish
salt, as needed

NOTE: Soak the quinoa in water and an acid (I use raw apple cider vinegar, but lemon juice works well, too) for 8-12 hours before you start preparing this dish.  I find it convenient to put this together in the morning before I go to work.

Cook the quinoa: rinse the soaked grain and add it to a pan with water (1:1 – I used 1/2 cup quinoa to a 1/2 cup water).  Cook for 15-20 minutes until all the water is absorbed by the grain.  Makes a 1 1/4 – 1 1/2 cups of quinoa.

Make the melted leeks:  cut off and discard the root and the woody tops, slice the leeks in half lengthwise, then slice the white and light-green parts into half-rings about 1/4- to 1/8-inch thick. You should have about 2 cups.  Rinse leek slices well in a bowl of running water. Melt 4 tbs butter in a heavy skillet over medium-low heat. Add leeks and a couple of tablespoons of water. Simmer slowly until leeks are tender and almost all water evaporates, adding more water if needed to further soften the leeks. Season well with salt. If using immediately, remove pan from the heat and set aside.

Mince the chives.

Bring the chicken broth to a lively simmer and whisk in the Parmesan.

Just before you’re ready to serve, soft-poach the eggs.

While the eggs are cooking, divide the melted leeks among individual bowls, spreading to cover about 2/3 of the bottom of the bowl. Scoop the quinoa over the leeks, and top each serving with a soft-poached egg. Sprinkle with chives, and pour the Parmesan broth around the edges of the bowl.

Enjoy.

This post is participating in Real Food Wednesday, hosted by Kelly the Kitchen Kop.

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