Tuesday, May 28, 2013

discover leeks

One may ask, what the heck is a leek?
Leeks are a member of the onion family they look like overgrown scallions (green onion) but have different taste. They are mild and sweet. They lend themselves to well to tomato and potato. Leeks are very good for you (as are any members of the onion family). Low in calories yet high in flavor, the onion family is a great addition to many dishes. For those who do not care for onions because of the strong odor, leeks can be a good choice because of their mildness.

I think people shy away from leeks because of not knowing what they are or how to cook with them. They are just a fancy type of onion. If you really want to impress someone cook with leeks. It sound fancy enough to impress any guest.  

Leeks are notorious for lending a little grit to a dish if not cleaned properly. The layers are really tight and they tend to  hold onto the sand that they are grown in. It requires a bit of attention, but the results are worth it. For me, I like to slice the root end off the leek and then slice it lengthwise right down the middle. Fan open the layers and then run them under cold water rinsing out much of the dirt.

 Slice the leeks thinly and then place them into a large bowl of cold water and swirl them about. Let them sit for a few minutes. Any lingering sand and dirt will sink to the bottom. Remove the leeks from the top of the bowl leaving any dirt or sand behind in the water.

I was first introduced to leeks while in chef school. We  made a classic French chilled potato and leek soup. I do not care for cold soups, but I love hot soups. A few years later I was introduced to Minnesota wild rice  and leek soup at a place that I worked. It quickly turned into a favorite. It continues to be a favorite. It seems that whenever I make it people request the recipe.

Minnesota wild rice and leek soup
serves 6-8

2 Tablespoons butter
3 carrots finely diced  about 1 cup
2 leeks (white and light green parts) finely diced  and well washed
2 celery stalks finely diced about 1 cup
1/4 cup flour
2 quarts chicken broth
3/4 cup wild rice
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup half and half, or milk.
1/4 cup minced chives for garnish (optional)
3 tbsp chopped parsley  for garnish (optional)

Heat butter in soup pot over medium heat. Add carrots, leeks and celery. Cook until softened (about 5 min)
Reduce heat to low, add flour, and stir well.Add broth gradually, whisking well with each addition to eliminate lumps in flour. Add wild rice and salt. continue simmer until rice is tender but still a bit chewy (about an hour). Stir in the half and half or the milk and garnish with parsley and chives if desired.

Can be made with vegetable stock, and olive oil instead of butter for a vegetarian dish.


  1. We have alot of leeks in the wild where I live. They definitely smell like they would make a good onion substitute. :)

  2. sounds just delicious to me--thanks for the recipe!

  3. Sounds delicious! I have eaten leeks that others have prepared, butI haven't tried cooking them myself...maybe it is time.


  4. I love leeks and this soup looks delicious. Thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday and have a fabulous weekend.
    Come Back Soon!
    Miz Helen

  5. Leeks are a must in delicate soups, a must. Thanks for sharing on Hearth & Soul Hop. :)

  6. I LOVE leeks in soup. I'll have to try this one!

  7. We love leeks. I always debate growing our own. Thanks for sharing on Tuesday Greens!

  8. Great post! I am a leek lover :) I had never eaten them before I started my CSA but now I am hooked.

    Thanks for sharing and linking up

  9. i remember the first time we got leeks in a CSA. I asked the same question (with more expletives)... now that I know, they're a treat!! i get so stoked when they show up at the farmer's markets. love them!

    Just an FYI m'dear - this post will be featured on the monthly Wednesday Fresh Foods Link Up Round Up this week! If you have a chance, feel free to stop by and check out the other featurettes :) Hope to see you again soon with more seasonal & real food posts! xo, kristy

  10. I love leeks, and once I discovered them a few years back, have made it a point to plant them every year. They are generally the first thing planted in the spring and the last thing harvested in the fall, giving them time to get as large as possible. Thanks for the recipe, I will save it and give it a try this fall. :)

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