Judith Hausman
April 2, 2014


Photo by Judith Hausman

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Here’s a fresh dish for spring.

A recent trip to Turkey gave me a jumpstart on spring cooking because of the milder weather there (the peach and apricot trees were already in bloom) and because of the wonderful vegetable-centric cuisine of that country. It goes without saying that cucumbers, tomatoes and greens are part of every meal, including breakfast. Then, an array of small dishes, filled, for example, with olives, yogurt with parsley, mashed fava beans or bulgur with pomegranate seeds, starts every dinner. People combed the hills for wild arugula and lavender. Markets were piled with mache and artichokes on their long stems, wild asparagus and pale green leeks, dried figs and mulberries. 

With slices of fresh cheese or feta and some sturdy bread, you can make a Turkish-style spring meal. Try this easy spring dish of silky leeks, brightened with carrots and rice. Or, simmer some well-seasoned lamb meatballs in a simple tomato sauce and use the leeks as a side.

Servings: 4 as a side dish


  • 4 leeks, washed and sliced in 1/3-inch rounds
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 1/4 cup rice
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • salt, to taste
  • black pepper, to taste
  • hot pepper flakes, to taste


In a large sauté pan, heat olive oil. Over low heat, cook onions to soften. Add carrots and stir for four more minutes. 

Add leeks, and cook for a few minutes more. 

Add water, sugar, salt, black pepper and pepper flakes. When the water boils, add rice and lemon juice. Cover, and cook on very low heat until rice is cooked, about 35 minutes. (Check and add more water if the leeks begin to over-brown.)

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