I think I have mentioned before that JR loves celery and this recipe inspired by Marcella Hazan (yes, she really is my favourite cook!) is always a favourite.
I had a decent sized bunch of celery, a couple of leeks and some
leftover pancetta from earlier in the week in the fridge, so this dish seemed the right choice.
As you would expect from a Marcella recipe there is nothing too complicated here, but the flavour is outstanding. I served it with roasted lamb rump, but it goes equally well with any meat, chicken or fish or is great as part of a vegetable meal.
Celery, Onion, Pancetta & Tomato Braise
For a vegetarian meal, this dish can be cooked without the pancetta and is still excellent.
The slowish cooking of this dish really brings out the sweetness of the
celery while retaining its freshness.
Serves 4-6 as a side dish
1 bunch celery
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
2 medium leeks, thinly sliced
100g pancetta, cut into thin strips
400g can diced tomatoes
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 To prepare celery, cut off leafy tops and reserve for another use – they are great used in stock. Cut off base and discard. Separate stalks and wash well. Cut on the diagonal into 2.5cm wide pieces. Set aside.
2 Place oil and leeks in a frying pan over a medium-low heat, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for 15-20 minutes or until leeks are completely wilted.
3 Add pancetta and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3-4 minutes longer or until pancetta starts to render its fat.
4 Add tomatoes and celery and mix to combine. Increase heat, bring to simmering, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 30 minutes or until celery is very tender. At the end of
cooking if the pan juices are a bit watery, remove lid, increase heat and cook to reduce juices.
Happy cooking and eating.
Recipe adapted by Rachel Blackmore
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