Leeks are currently in season and at their peak. Leek is a vegetable which along with the onion and garlic, to the Alliaceae family. he edible portions of the leek are the white onion base and light green stalk. The dark green portion is usually discarded since it has less flavor. As the leek grows, this part becomes woody and very chewy. One of the most popular uses for the whites and light green stalks is for adding flavor to stock. Chefs rarely use the darker part of the leek for stock because of its bitterness. Read the whole story here on wikipedia.
Perfect for a winters night dinner why not try an old favourite courtesy of our recipe partner A Cook In Chef’s Clothing.
Recipe: Potato and Leek Soup
- Olive oil, you will need about a tablespoon.
- 20g butter, I use unsalted then control the additional salt at the end.
- 2 leeks, use the pale section and slice them down the centre. Wash them thoroughly and then thinly slice them
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed with the blade of your knife
- 1kg potatoes, I use pontiacs or blues but get the freshest you can, peeled, coarsely chopped
- 4 Cups (about a litre) of chicken stock or vegetable stock for the veg option 3 cups (around 750ml) of water
- 1 cup (around 250ml) of thin cream
- Finely chopped fresh chives to garnish
- Heat oil and butter in a saucepan over medium heat.
- Add the leek and garlic and toss to coat. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cook, covered, stirring occasionally, for 18-20 minutes or until soft. You dont want to burn them or give them any colour.
- Add the potato, stock and water to the pan. Cover and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium and cook, partially covered, for 25-30 minutes or until potato is tender.
- Set aside for 10 minutes to cool.
- Using a stick blender blend the contents to a thick creamy consistency. If you do not have a stick blender then use a food processor and do it in batches moving the end result to a holding bowl before putting it back into the pot. Bring the heat back up to medium and stir in the cream keep it moving until it has completely warmed through.
- Taste and season with salt and pepper.
- Distribute the soup into bowls and top with chopped chives and a grind of fresh pepper.
This recipe makes enough for 8 people, simply halve the ingredients for less people.
Often I will place a teaspoon of ground cumin and coriander seeds into the mix, add this during the potato simmer stage. Also some crispy bacon strips served on top are a luxurious addition.