Biscuits with leeks, gruyere cheese and amaranth flour

Biscuits with leeks, gruyere cheese, and amaranth

I’ve been throwing this idea around in my head for awhile. Ever since I made Kim Boyce’s Muscovado Sugar Cake and caught my first whiff of fragrant amaranth flour.

What would happen if this grassy amaranth flour was paired with earthy leeks, in some sort of buttery bready concoction? Like, say, biscuits? Ooh la la.

I did some research and found a few biscuit recipes that involved wild leeks (a.k.a. ramps), but I couldn’t find any that involved both regular leeks and amaranth flour. I decided to do a combination of this smitten kitchen recipe for prepping the leeks and this recipe for biscuits that utilizes pencil leeks, making appropriate changes and substitutions. I also decided to add some nutty gruyere cheese. Just because.

Biscuits with leeks, gruyere cheese, and amaranth

Biscuits with leeks, gruyere cheese, and amaranth

Biscuits with leeks, gruyere cheese, and amaranth

I made the biscuits tonight, to serve with Alton Brown’s curried split pea soup. And they were very, very good (the soup was very good as well). The flavor of the leeks was strong and pronounced, likely enhanced by the amaranth. And as expected, the gruyere came through strongly as well – one day, I would like to make these biscuits again, with either less gruyere or none at all, to see how well the leeks and amaranth perform on their own.

Biscuits with leeks, gruyere cheese, and amaranth

Biscuits with leeks, gruyere cheese, and amaranth

Biscuits with leeks, gruyere cheese and amaranth flour
Adapted from smitten kitchen and Crumbs On My Keyboard

Leeks:
1 cup leeks, white and light green parts only, halved and chopped, rinsed and drained
Kosher salt
2 tablespoons butter
Freshly ground pepper

Biscuits:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup amaranth flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon sugar
4 tablespoons cold butter cut into small cubes
Prepared leeks (above)
1/2 – 1 cup shredded gruyere cheese
3/4 cup buttermilk

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees, position a rack in the center of the oven, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a medium-sized pan, saute the leeks over medium-high heat with a little cooking spray and a pinch of kosher salt until softened (about 5 minutes). Lower the heat to medium-low, stir in the butter, cover, and cook for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add pepper and more salt to taste. Remove from pan and set aside.

In a medium/large bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar. Cut in the butter with a pastry cutter (or a food processor, or your fingers). Gently stir in the cheese and the prepared leeks. Pour in the buttermilk and fold until just combined.

On a lightly floured work surface, gently knead the dough four or five times, adding a bit more flour if the dough sticks. Roll the dough until about 1/2 inch thickness with a rolling pin. Using anything with a 2-inch-ish circumference (I used an old jar), cut out the biscuit rounds and transfer to the prepared baking sheet (around 12-15 rounds). Bake for 10-15 minutes, until golden brown.

Biscuits with leeks, gruyere cheese, and amaranth

Biscuits with leeks, gruyere cheese, and amaranth

Red lentil curry with leeks and tofu (slow cooker)

Red lentil curry with leeks and tofu

This recipe is so simple, and so tasty. And to top it all off, it’s quite healthy – full of lean protein and veggies and fiber (lentils are a total superfood). As healthy as this dish is, however, it does not skimp on flavor (and as an unexpected bonus, it’s vegan!).

Red lentil curry with leeks and tofu

This recipe originally comes from a Weight Watchers slow cooker cookbook, which I made a couple of times before making some significant modifications. The original recipe calls for shrimp as the add-in at the end of the slow cooking process, which was pretty good, but not my favorite (I prefer shrimp that’s been grilled or stir-fried – plus, 2 pounds of shrimp can be really expensive if you’re not buying on sale), so I used tofu instead. I also increased the amount of garlic (because 1 clove is never enough).

Red lentil curry with leeks and tofu

Lastly, I replaced the celery in the recipe with leeks. Because you know what? Celery is stupid. It’s flavorless, it smells more like sterile cleaning liquid than food and while some will argue that it provides “texture” to soup and stews and the like, I find it annoying and useless. So, I used leeks instead, because leeks provide robustness without significantly changing the main flavor.

Red lentil curry with leeks and tofu, in the slow cooker
Adapted from Weight Watchers

2 1/2 cups veggie broth
1 cup dried red lentils
1 large red onion, chopped
2-3 leeks, thinly sliced and chopped
2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
4 teaspoons curry powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
1 tablespoon peanut, grapeseed or canola oil (any neutral oil)
16 oz. firm/extra firm tofu (firmer the better)

Add the broth, lentils, onion, leeks, ginger, garlic, curry powder, cinnamon, salt, and cayenne pepper (first 10 ingredients) into your slow cooker. Stir together, cover, and cook on high for 2-3 hours (I let mine cook for the full 3 hours). I believe you can also cook the ingredients on low for 4-6 hours – the mixture is done when everything is soft and broken down.

When there’s about 45 minutes or so left on the timer, brown your tofu on the stove as preparation before adding to the slow cooker. Slice the tofu blocks into bite-sized pieces. Heat up some neutral oil (peanut, grapeseed, canola – just not olive, if you can help it) in a skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add the tofu and let it brown, stirring frequently after a couple of minutes so that all the pieces brown somewhat evenly (this took about 15 minutes for me, but cooking times may vary). Add the browned tofu to the slow cooker, stir, replace the lid, and continue cooking.

Serve in bowls and enjoy! The leftovers for this recipe keep quite well – in fact, they get a little spicier after sitting in the fridge, which is a nice bonus. I imagine you could also serve this dish over some grains (couscous or rice), but it works great on its own.