Most braising recipes call for stovetop cooking for color before oven baking to finish. This recipe cuts out the need for dirtying up the first stovetop pan completely. Simple and fresh, these leeks go especially well with pork.
Preheat oven to 400F. Add the fat to an ovenproof dish large enough to fit the leeks when cut in half. Put dish in the oven for a few minutes while you prep the leeks.
Cut the tough green leaf ends from the leeks and discard (or save for stock). Slice the leeks in half lengthwise, leaving the root end intact.
Rinse the leeks under running water, separating out the first few layers to wash out any trapped dirt or grit.
Lay the washed leeks out on some paper towel and pat dry. Remove the root end and slice once again lengthwise so that the leeks are in quarters.
Remove the baking dish from the oven and arrange the leeks, cut side down, in the butter or ghee. If it has browned a little, so much the better! Season with salt and pepper to taste, then return the dish and leeks to the oven for 15 – 20 minutes, until the bottoms begin to caramelize.
Add chicken stock, cover and bake for 10 more minutes, or until tender.
Squeeze the lemon juice over the top of the leeks while still in the baking dish, tossing them through the lemon & braising liquid. Sprinkle with lemon zest before serving & make sure to drizzle the braising liquid over the leeks, too!