Leeks Key facts Leeks belong to the same family as onions and garlic. A key ingredient of cock a leekie soup and vichyssoise, the leek is also one of the national symbols of Wales.

Season: Best home grown from September to May Leeks are a very fine vegetable indeed. Though they are related to onions, they have a far more subtle – and somehow nobler – taste, I think. Leeks lend themselves to other flavours superbly, too: great with potatoes, in a soup or with cheese, in salads with vinaigrette, and they also respond beautifully to quick stir-frying.

Watch the season, though, as home-grown leeks get a bit woolly and tired in the late spring and summer and the imported ones never seem quite as good. Remember, too, that the smaller and thinner the leeks are the sweeter their flavour is, so avoid the very fat, heavy ones.

To prepare leeks: Buy a little more than you need because there's going to be quite a bit of trimming. First, take off the tough outer leaves and trim off most of the very green part. Now, using a sharp knife, place the leek on a flat surface and make an incision vertically about halfway down (because of the intricate layers, there can be dust and grit trapped in between, usually in the upper part). Now turn on the cold tap and fan out the layers of leek to rinse them through and rid them of any hidden dirt.

Buttered Leeks: This is my favourite way of cooking leeks – very gently, in their own juices and served as a vegetable, particularly at the end of winter when there's not an awful lot else available. Serves 2½ level teaspoon butter1 lb (450 g) leeks, trimmed – you need 12 oz (350 g) trimmed weight salt and freshly milled black pepper. When the leeks are trimmed and washed, cut them all the way through vertically, then chop them into 1 inch (2.5 cm) pieces. Now place a small frying pan over a medium heat, add the butter and let it melt – it needs to lightly coat the surface of the pan.

Now add the leeks and some seasoning, stir them around, then turn the heat down to low and let them cook gently for about 5 minutes without a lid, stirring them 2 or 3 times. There will be quite a lot of juice that collects in the pan, so use a draining spoon to serve.

Related Recipes
Stuffed Jacket Potatoes with Leeks, Cheddar and Boursin Serves 2

Stuffed Jacket Potatoes with Leeks, Cheddar and Boursin

Jacket potatoes are cheap and filling but sometimes you want a change from grated cheese and baked beans! This recipe is packed with flavour for a very satisfying supper dish.

Cauliflower Soup with Roquefort Serves 4-6

Cauliflower Soup with Roquefort

This is a truly sublime soup, it would be good with any cheese you happen to have handy. More good news – it takes little more than 40 mintes to make.

Watercress Soup Serves 6-8

Watercress Soup

Watercress is a star performer in so many ways. I love the fat green luxurious leaves in salads, sprinkled with rock salt in sandwiches, in sauce and perhaps most of all in soup.

Cold Pressed Ox Tongue Serves 10-12

Cold Pressed Ox Tongue

Although you can order a pressed tongue from the butcher at Christmas it is usually much nicer home-made – and it's not really much trouble.

Winter Vegetable Pie with a Parmesan Crust Serves 4-6

Winter Vegetable Pie with a Parmesan Crust

Filled with wintry root veg and a cheesy sauce, with a parmesan pastry, this pie is a real treat! Replace the lard with vegetable fat if making this for vegetarians.

Carrot and Leek Soup Serves 4 as a main course

Carrot and Leek Soup

Using the best of winter's root vegetables, this hearty soup is packed with nutritional goodness and will make a good lunch or supper for one.

Chicken Pot Roast Serves 4-6

Chicken Pot Roast

Pot roasts used to be very fashionable and deserve a revival - wintry one-pot casseroles like this one make the most of seasonal root veg and help you to feed the family cheaply.

Thick Country Soup Serves 6-8

Thick Country Soup

Vegetarians and meat-eaters alike will love this really thick soup crammed with beans, rice and a host of wintry veg. All you need is some good bread and cheese to go with it…

 Bacon, Leek and Potato Omelette  Serves 2

Bacon, Leek and Potato Omelette

A bit like a British version of tortilla, this filling omelette is made with potatoes and bacon as well as eggs, offering a nutritious option for a cheap lunch or supper.

Hot Smoked Salmon with Leeks and Mustard Serves 2

Hot Smoked Salmon with Leeks and Mustard

A luxurious combination, this one, and easy as pie: an indulgent supper dish for two with the mustard cutting through the richness of the salmon.




CMS solutions by REDtechnology.com