Cooking the vegetables in stock, much as you would a risotto, gives them a real depth of flavour and great tenderness. You’ll need to allow 30 minutes, and don’t be tempted to skip or speed up the process. This also works without the cheese, if you prefer. Serves four as a side or as part of a meze spread.
1 litre vegetable stock (We recommend Marigold Swiss Vegetable Bouillon, of course)
2 tbsp lemon juice (ie, from 1 lemon)
1 orange, peel shaved into 5 or 6 wide strips (avoid the white pith)
1 tbsp caster sugar
15g unsalted butter
1 tbsp olive oil, plus 1 tsp extra to serve
6 carrots, peeled and cut into 2cm chunks
Flaked sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 large leeks, trimmed, washed and chopped into 2cm-thick rounds
60g chèvre log (rind on), broken into roughly 2cm chunks (optional)
10g dill leaves
5g tarragon leaves, roughly torn
Put the stock, lemon juice, orange peel and sugar in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil on a high heat. Once boiling, turn down the heat to medium and leave to simmer for seven to eight minutes, to infuse and reduce a little. Strain into a large jug (the aromatics can now be discarded): you should have about 950ml of flavoured stock.
Melt the butter and oil in a large saute pan on a medium-high flame, then add the carrots (in batches, if need be: you don’t want to overcrowd the pan) and half a teaspoon of flaked salt. Saute for five to six minutes, turning the carrots over every couple of minutes or so, until browned on all sides. Transfer to a plate with a slotted spoon, then add the leeks and half a teaspoon of flaked salt to the pan, and saute for four to five minutes, turning them over gently every two minutes but not stirring, otherwise they’ll break up. When the leeks are browned all over, return the carrots to the pan and pour over 200ml of the infused stock. Cook for a couple of minutes on a medium-high heat, until reduced by two-thirds, then add another 200ml stock and repeat the reduction process. Repeat until all the liquid has been added to the pan and the vegetables are tender: this stage should take about 15 minutes in total.
Using a slotted spoon, transfer the cooked vegetables to a medium bowl and leave the remaining stock on medium-high heat for about 10 minutes, until it’s reduced down to about 70ml. Pour this over the vegetables and leave to cool.
Use a slotted spoon to transfer the vegetables to a large plate (discard any remaining stock), dot with the cheese and sprinkle over the dill and tarragon. Sprinkle over a quarter-teaspoon of flaked salt and a good grind of pepper, drizzle over a final teaspoon of oil and serve at room temperature.