How to Prepare and Cook Leeks
Leeks are a delicious and versatile vegetable. They come from the same family as garlic and onions (the 'allium' family) but have their own distinct flavour, a bit like a mild sweet onion. Leeks are also one of the national emblems of Wales (along with dafodills) and worn on St. David's Day.
When to buy:
Although you will be able to buy them in the supermarket all year round, they are at their best in season, September to March.
How to choose:
Go for firm and unblemished leeks with bright green crisp leaves. Choose smaller leeks as they are sweeter and more tender.
How to store:
Depending on how fresh they are, leeks can be kept in the fridge for up to two weeks. Do not wash them or trim them before storing them as it will shorten their life. Leeks emit an aroma which can absorbed by other foods, so it's best to wrap them in a plastic bag before you put them in the fridge. Leeks do not tend to freeze well unless they are cooked in a dish, for example a stew.
How to prepare:
Trim off the base of your leeks, and cut away the uppermost part of the leaves. If it's tough, remove the outer layer. There are often soil particles trapped between the layers, particularly in the green section of the leek. To avoid getting this into the food, slice the leeks in half, chop and then rinse thoroughly in running water.
How to cook:
Leeks can be steamed, pan fried or roasted. They can be added to lots of dishs such as stews, casseroles, pasta dishes and risottos. Baby leeks can be eaten raw in a salad, the larger ones will have too much of a strong flavour.
Leek Recipe Ideas:
- Leek and Potato Soup is a classic recipe for leeks. Simply serve with a generous side order of crusty bread and butter for a delicious hearty meal.
- If you like risotto but not the stirring, try this Easy Risotto with Chicken and Leeks. It's ready in 20 minutes and required a minimum amount of preparation.
- I like to put leeks in my Fish Pie as they give a lovely flavour and increase the vegetable content which makes it more healthy.
- Leeks are great for pasta dishes with a creamy sauce such as Creamy Bacon and Leek Linguine. They have a milder flavour than onions.
- Leeks are perfect in stews such as Easy Beef and Tomato Stew and go well in dishes such as Slow Roast Pork Shank
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