Not very often do I venture into the world of leeks. I don't quite exactly know why, but I think it has something to do with grit and sand~just when I think I have scrubbed and rinsed until my fingers have shriveled, I will bite down on something that should not be there. There first time I was preparing leeks, I was completely unaware about washing and the importance of cleaning between the leaves and root areas. Complete disaster as you can imagine. My latest experience proved to be a success in every respect! This recipe is adapted from Susan Loomis, author of On Rue Tatin.
1 C. water
1 Dried bay leaf
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
4 Large apples
2 T.unsalted butter
The white part of four large leeks, WELL rinsed and diced
2 T. to 1/4 C. bottled water
1/4 C. creme fraiche or heavy cream
Sweet cicely or flat-leaf parsley leaves for garnish
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place the cored apples in a baking dish and pour the water around the apples. Remember to remove one strip of skin from the apple so it does not burst during the baking process. Add the bay leaf to water. Lightly salt the inside of the apples.
Place 1 T. of the butter and the chopped leeks in heavy saucepan, cook and stirring until leeks are transparent. Add the water, stir and cover pan. Continue cooking until leeks are tender, about 10 minutes, adding additional water if needed to keep the leeks from sticking.
Transfer cooked leeks to a bowl where you add the cream. Stir and season to taste with salt and pepper. Gently fill each apple with equal amounts of mixture, pressing it into the cavity and mounding it on top, if possible. Top each apple with 1/4 of the remaining butter.
Bake in center of oven until apples are tender and leeks are golden brown for about 45 minutes. Remove from oven, serve on warmed plates and garnish. Serve immediately.