Do you ever find yourself getting stuck in a rut, adding the same old things to your grocery list (or not even writing them down, and just picking up the same old “usuals”)? I’m thrilled to introduce our new “Farmer’s Market Find” feature, with some simple, frugal, natural, and seasonal recipes and some fun trivia! Hopefully, these will inspire you to try something new, or revisit a forgotten old favorite.
Post written by contributing writer, Nada.
“Aye, leeks is good.”- Fluellen, Henry VI
Tradition has it that on Saint David’s Day, the people of Wales wear the blessed man’s personal symbol on their lapel: the leek. From the same family as garlic and onions, leeks offer a mild but delicious flavour that is enjoyed all over North America and Europe.
Leeks grow in a long tubular bulb of loose layers, similar to an onion. The edible portion is the white bulb and some of the light green leaves. However, the darker the leaves, the more bitter and wooden the leaves taste. As such, they are usually discarded. The body of the leek, however, can be added to soup stocks, sautéed, or eaten raw.
While more of a flavor enhancer than a reliable source of nutrients, leeks are a tasty way of getting more manganese, and the B vitamin folate, in your diet.
Leeks are available from August to March but are best from September to February. When shopping for leeks, look for long straight bulbs without cracks or yellowing. The leaves should not be wilted or torn. Also, as the bulbs start to get thicker, they become more fibrous and wooden, so stick to ones that are thinner.
Store leeks raw and uncut in your refrigerator for up to two weeks. Keeping them wrapped in moist (not soaked) cloths or plastic will also help them maintain freshness. Cooked leeks will only retain their flavor and taste for a day or two so try to only cook what you need.
These lovely bulbs can be added raw to a salad or sandwich, or sautéed with herbs and onions to add to soups, casseroles or broths. You can also use them as a main ingredient in a deliciously rich Leek and Potato Soup. Here is my version, based off this recipe.
Simple Leek & Potato Soup
4-6 tablespoons Butter
4 1/2 cups Chicken Broth
2 tablespoons Garlic
2 tablespoons Italian Seasoning Mix
3 large Leeks
1/2 large Onion, diced
2 large Potatoes, peeled, chopped
Melt butter in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add leeks, onions and garlic; stir to coat with butter. Cover saucepan; cook until leeks are tender, stirring often, about 10 minutes.
Add potatoes. Cover and cook until potatoes begin to soften but do not brown, stirring often, about 10 minutes.
Add 4 1/2 cups stock. Bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until vegetables are very tender, about 30 minutes.
Puree soup in batches in processor until smooth. Return to saucepan.
Thin with additional stock if soup is too thick. Season with salt and pepper. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.) Bring soup to simmer. Ladle into bowls.
Michele’s note: Nada will be featuring a different seasonal produce item/recipe each month, so send in your requests/questions! I love leeks, and I picked some up during my grocery shopping this week as soon as I saw this soup recipe- and now I’ve learned to wrap store them better, thanks to her advice! How do YOU cook with leeks?
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Nada is a first-time mom to a delightful little girl and the wife to a wise and wonderful man. With a background in fitness and nutrition, she enjoys healthy cooking, green cleaning and especially writing, and has acquired a vast knowledge of interesting little facts… about everything! She aspires to be a Godly woman that her daughter is proud to call “Mom” and through her blog, miniMOMist, she discusses how attachment parenting, minimalism, simplicity and frugal living help her in her everyday mission.