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I have three large leeks I picked up from the farmer's market. What should I do with them?

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Love Bug Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 08:07 AM
Original message
I have three large leeks I picked up from the farmer's market. What should I do with them?
You know how it is -- you see all that wonderful veg displayed for your delectation and the next thing you know you're hauling a 20-mule-team's load home. I bought the leeks cuz they looked good and were only $1 but I'm not sure now what to do with them. Can I chop 'em up and freeze them 'till I figure it out? Any suggestions?
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japple Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 08:51 AM
Response to Original message
1. I use leeks in everything. Saute them with cabbage, mustard, or
kale, or any other greens. Use them in soups, sauces, or anything where you want a sweet, subtle oniony flavor. Roasted leeks with potatoes and bell peppers is wonderful. Sauteed with yellow summer squash and a touch of curry powder (garam marsala is my favorite) is divine.

I've found that if you cut off part of the green top and the root tendrils, clean them, then wrap in a paper towel and place them in a bag in the refrigerator, they keep much longer. Some cooks don't use the green tops, but I put them in soup and vegetables. I've never tried to freeze them, but I think that, as with onions, they would probably turn to mush and lose all of their flavor.
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Warpy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 08:52 AM
Response to Original message
2. Oooh, all kinds of things
They're great by themselves, cut in half, cleaned and braised, with or without a cream sauce. The flavor is onion but milder.

They're wonderful in light soups.

They can be stewed or roasted along with various meats.

I use them in Julia Child's potato soup almost weekly. The soup is as simple as it gets: leeks, potatoes, water, and either butter or heavy cream at the end. It's a thick, hearty hot soup in winter and a refreshing cold soup in summer.

Just realize that leeks contain a lot of grit and must be completely cleaned. The white parts are pretty grit free, but when I chop the green parts, I throw them into a salad spinner, soak them and then spin them dry.

The only bad part is explaining to the grocery cashier what they are. I often think I'm the only person in town who eats weird veggies like leeks, oyster plant, celery root, and parsnips, even though the organic groceries all stock them.
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katkat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 10:58 AM
Response to Reply #2
3. jicama
Try explaining jicama to the grocery cashier. Worse yet, try finding it in New England, sniffle.
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Warpy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 11:24 AM
Response to Reply #3
6. I found it on Cape Cod and in Boston
at groceries, health food stores and ethnic markets.

I used it instead of fresh water chestnuts when I couldn't find those.
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beac Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 01:15 PM
Response to Reply #3
11. That reminds me of trying to purchase turnips at a Shoppers Food Warehouse last winter.
First, the cashier had NO idea what they were and then they weren't listed under "Turnips" or "White Turnips." Finally, in desperation, I said "try looking under P!"

Sure enough... "Purple Top White Turnips, $1.25 per pound" :crazy:
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Tesha Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 11:01 AM
Response to Reply #2
4. Agreed on the Potato Leek Soup

Cold or hot, add bacon - leave out the cream... any way you like it, it's always a winner.


Or make a casserole of leeks, potatoes and gruyere .... oh mmmm
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Stinky The Clown Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 11:11 AM
Response to Original message
5. Whatever you do, clean them well.
They're typically loaded with sandy grit. And not just a cursory rinse under running water. Clean them carefully and well.
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Gormy Cuss Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 12:26 PM
Response to Original message
7. In addition to Warpy's fine suggestions, braising them in white wine and herbs is a good side dish.
Braise only the white and tender green parts.

If you make soups, clean and save the tough green tops for making stock. Just wrap & freeze.
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Love Bug Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-16-09 05:31 PM
Response to Original message
8. Here's what I did with them:
I made leek/potato/corn chowder!

4 cups sliced and washed leeks
1 can chicken broth
1 cup water
1 lb potatoes, peeled and diced 1/2"
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper to taste

I pressure-cooked this for 4 minutes and used the quick-release. I then added the kernels from two ears of corn and about 1 tea. of Herbes de Provence and simmered until heated through. I finished by adding 1/4 cup condensed milk (I didn't have any cream or half-and-half handy).

This makes a nice, thick soup, which I had with bread.
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ginnyinWI Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 12:17 AM
Response to Reply #8
9. I made a bean soup with a leek in it today.
It has navy beans, onion, garlic, a large leek, broccoli, zucchini, frozen peas, and some fresh herbs from my garden: basil, oregano and parsley. And some dried thyme, black pepper, and a sprinkle of sumac (adds a lemony taste). Pretty good after I got done "doctoring" it up. The original had far too little herbs and spices.
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Love Bug Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Sep-17-09 09:20 AM
Response to Reply #9
10. That sounds really good!
I usually end up adding more herbs or spices than a recipe calls for sometimes, too. I have a few cookbooks were most of the recipes are underseasoned for my taste. Once I figured that out, I got a lot more out of them.

I'm going back to the farmer's market this Sunday. Let's see what new thing we can find this time... lol
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