The truth about Leek Confit? It’s just not that complicated.
Dana Velden over at TheKitchn nailed it way back in 2012: “There is no recipe because I never use a recipe for my leek confit. You really don’t need one.”
All you need is the general idea of it and you’re essentially ready: Simply slow cook leeks with a bit of culinary fat and perhaps a drop of water and a minimum of salt and—voila!
It is spread-on-toast delicious, and is a fabulous building block for more complex dishes like Mediterranean Medley Sweet Potatoes.
Are you making this while you’re making 3 other things? Err on the side of too slow. It’s okay if your confit takes 90 minutes.
Also, it’s rare that you can use the entire leek for straight eating, but the fibrous green ends are great for making vegetarian stock.
2 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 large leeks cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices (about 5 cups)
2 tablespoons water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1Cut and clean the leeks. Like most things that escape through the earth, in layers, over time, leeks sometimes pick up a little grit in the folds. That’s why it’s a good policy, after you trim the root end and the most obviously inedible green parts, to halve them, then chop in quarter inch strips. Sometimes you can just wash any dirt away with a thumb; sometimes you have to cut it away. (This is especially true with larger leeks; smaller leeks can sometimes be processed in the round.) The key to maximizing leek potential is to find that point, as the color scales from white to green, where the fiber overpowers the flavor. Confit is a smooth and velvety thing, so fibrous remnant strands of leek definitely detract. It varies from leek to leek, but usually the greener it is, the less edible. White and pale green work best, but pushing the envelope toward green can be very rewarding if done with care.
2You’ll want a wide pot or saucepan with a thicker bottom and a lid. Starting on medium low heat melt the butter and add the oil. (I like to split the difference but you can use all oil or all butter, or get fancier with something like duck fat or ghee if you desire.)
3Add the leeks. You need the whole mixture to heat up evenly without browning, so don’t go too hot. Once you’ve got a stable, simmering heat put the top on and step the heat down.
4Check back in about 5-7 minutes. Is there enough water in the leeks to provide the necessary steaming portion of the heat? If not, add a few tablespoons.
5Depending on how much you’re making and how careful you were ramping up the heat at the outset, your confit will be ready—to put on practically anything—in 25 to 35 minutes.