Chinese Cooking For Dummies
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This savory leek and mushroom topping for Hanukkah latkes is scented with cumin and thyme. It enlivens any vegetable or potato pancakes. If you’re including dairy foods on the menu, top each latke with a spoonful of sour cream or yogurt and then with the topping.

When creating alternative toppings for your latkes, you can stay fairly close to custom by simply mixing a few herbs in your sour cream or substituting yogurt. Or go wild with toppings like pesto, Mexican salsa, or the French olive paste called tapenade.

Leek and Mushroom Latke Topping

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: 15 minutes

Yield: 4 to 6 servings as topping

Keeping kosher: Pareve

1 pound leeks, white and light green parts only

2 tablespoons olive oil

4 to 6 tablespoons vegetable stock

1 teaspoon dried leaf thyme, crumbled

1 teaspoon ground cumin

Salt and freshly ground pepper

6 ounces mushrooms, halved and sliced

1/2 teaspoon paprika

Cayenne pepper to taste

1 tablespoon chopped Italian parsley

  1. Split and clean leeks. Cut them in thin slices.

  2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a heavy sauté pan. Add leeks and sauté, stirring, for 1 minute. Add 4 tablespoons stock, thyme, 1/2 teaspoon cumin, salt, and pepper. Cover and cook over low heat, stirring often, about 10 minutes or until leeks are tender; add more stock if pan becomes dry. If mixture is soupy, uncover and simmer until excess liquid evaporates.

  3. Heat remaining tablespoon oil in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Add mushrooms, salt, and pepper. Sauté mushrooms, stirring often, about 2 minutes or until just tender. Add paprika and 1/2 teaspoon cumin and cook over low heat about 1/2 minute.

  4. Add mushrooms to pan of leeks and mix gently. Heat over medium heat for 1 or 2 minutes to blend flavors. Season to taste with cayenne, salt, and pepper. Serve sprinkled with parsley.

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