If you look around vegetable gardens at this time of year, they can look bereft of veg apart from a few lanky looking winter greens; however anybody who grew winter varieties of leeks will be reaping their reward now, as they’re very much in season.
I wrote a blog about growing leeks last year and here are two more recipes we made this week that are quick and easy (I made them both at the same time as the stove was on, and half the preparations were complete).
2 large leeks with thick leaves removed and saved
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
Freshly grated nutmeg
Chop the dark leaves off the leeks and save. Slice the remainder in half lengthways through to the middle and wash under cold running water. Steam gently for about five minutes.
Meanwhile make a white sauce by melting the butter in a saucepan, then adding the flour and mustard, mix until combined then add the milk, stirring until it boils. (If it’s too thick add a little more milk, too runny add more flour.) Simmer for a few minutes.
Grease a gratin dish lightly and place the steamed leeks into it. Pour over the sauce then add grated cheese and freshly grated nutmeg to the top.
Place in a pre-heated oven at 200oC for about 20 minutes or until the gratin is golden.An optional extra for this is to wrap the leeks in ham after they’ve steamed and before the white sauce has been poured on top.
Leek and Potato Soup
4 potatoes, peeled and roughly chopped
1 litre stock
Melt the butter in a saucepan, add the roughly chopped leek and garlic put on a lid and cook gently until softened.
Add the potatoes, stock and seasoning and cook until the vegetables are soft. Remove from the heat and allow to cool for a few minutes before liquidising.
This is a handy way of using up leek tops that are often discarded and makes a deep green soup that’s packed full of vitamins.