Cooking is like therapy to me. Whenever I’m feeling stressed or blue getting into that kitchen soothes it all away – for a while at least! Leeks, for me, are one of the all time great underrated veggies. You never hear anyone talking about the delicious leek they had for dinner or that fantastic soup, which just wouldn’t have been the same without the addition of that most straightforward yet complex of roots. It’s a crying shame really because they are truly gorgeous and they deserve their time in the limelight as much as any vegetable. Of course, one of the classic accompaniments to the leek is pork. It needs that saltiness to bounce off, don’t you think? Two of the dishes I cook most often that use this combination are my famous (well to my family anyway) Ham and Leek and my astonishingly good Pork Stroganoff.
Really, the only similarlity between this pork stroganoff and my beef one is that they both have a creamy sauce and I serve it with brown rice. The pork I’ve used here is organic, locally reared and is seriously tender. Yes, more expensive than your usual supermarket pork chops but I want to know where my meat has come from and I’m willing to pay for it. Unfortunately nowadays we expect cheap food, but I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m not going to put a cost on my health or the environment. Okay, rant over;)
I used fromage blanc this time around because I’d never cooked with it before and whilst it did a decent job I think in the future I’ll stick to creme fraiche, as the consistency is a little thicker. I like to cheat a bit when it comes to the rice too and use a ricecooker – I honestly don’t know what I did before I owned one! Be warned though – this may taste phenonmenal but sadly doesn’t look much on the plate. I’ve tried every which way to try and make stroganoff look good in my photos but so far that perfect picture has eluded me. Maybe I just need to face facts – stroganoff ain’t pretty. Don’t judge it too harsely though, not every meal will look like the Kate Moss equivalent of dinners. Remember true beauty is on the inside so dive on into this creamy, leeky, porky delight.
2 pork chops
1 small tub of creme fraiche/sour cream or fromage blanc
1 heaped tsp wholegrain mustard
1 heaped tsp dijon
1 tsp english mustard or equivalent
1 cup brown rice
Measure out 1 cup brown rice and empty into pot or ricecooker. The method is the same for both but the ricecooker just makes it that little bit easier because you can switch it on and leave it. Two parts water to one part rice. Bring to the boil and then turn down to a gentle simmer with lid on. Cook for around 20mins until all the liquid is gone – no need to drain. Fluff with a fork. Now in the time the rice is cooking you can have the rest of the meal prepared.
Finely slice the leeks – and I mean as finely as you possibly can without taking the skin off your fingers:) Heat a tablespoon of oil and the same of butter in a frying pan/skillet. Remember to rinse the leeks before adding them to the pan. Cook gently for around 10mins until they are soft but in no way coloured. If they are beginning to colour add more oil or butter and turn the heat down. Generously season.
Slice the pork into thin strips. Also make sure they aren’t too long as this can become problematic when eating.
Transfer the cooked leeks to a bowl. There should be enough oil left in the pan for the pork but if you’re worried you can add a touch more – but not too much mind! Turn the heat up on the pan, add pork and stirfry quickly. You want it to colour on the outside but not competely cooked through – the strips should be tender not tough as old boots. I know people worry about pork being undercooked but trust me it’ll be fine.
In a bowl empty the contents of the creme fraiche or whatever you choose to use. Stir in the different mustards and mix thoroughly.
Return the leeks to the pan and stir in the creme fraiche. Bring to an ever so gentle simmer and remember to taste and season.
By this time your rice should be cooked and all you have to do is serve up. I recommend bowls as it adds to the comfort food vibe we’re going for here:)