This is one of my favorite side dishes.  I have always loved soft, braised leeks, and they are plentiful right now in our Bay Area farmers markets.  They are a perfect addition to mashed Yukon gold potatoes.   This dish pairs well with beef, pork, vegetarian and poultry main dishes.

6 large or 9 medium Yukon gold potatoes, washed, peeled (or not) and cut into 1″ chunks
Water to cover
Sea salt
1 stick (4 oz.) butter, softened
1 1/2 cup half-n-half, heated

Braised leeks and mushrooms:
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 medium-sized leeks, washed – root end and green tops cut off
6-8 medium Crimini mushrooms, cleaned and diced
1/2 cup water

You will also need:
Paring knife
Large pot with lid
Medium saucepan with lid
Potato masher or ricer

Place the potatoes into the large pot and cover them with water.  Add about a tablespoon of salt to the water.  Bring the water to a boil over high heat.  As soon as the water starts to boil, cover the potatoes and turn the heat down to low.  Let the potatoes cook until they are tender, about 15-20 minutes.

Meanwhile, saute the leeks and the mushrooms in olive oil for about two minutes over medium-high heat.  Add the water and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to low.  Simmer, covered, for about 10 minutes until the leeks are tender.

Drain the potatoes.  Add the butter, half of the milk and the  braised leeks and mushrooms.  Start mashing them together.  Add additional milk, if needed, until you get a smooth consistency.  Take care not to mash too much or the potatoes will become too starchy.

Add sea salt to taste.  Serve immediately.

Serves 6-8.

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