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Leek Recipes, Cooking Tips and Serving Ideas

Gordon loves cooking and experimenting with food. He loves making new dishes, particularly with unusual or underused ingredients.

Leek and bacon stuffed chicken thigh en croute with new potatoes, carrots and peas

Leek and bacon stuffed chicken thigh en croute with new potatoes, carrots and peas

Leeks for many people are simply vegetables which are occasionally sliced and added to soup. This is a great shame as leeks are members of the same vegetable family (allium) as the much more popular cooking ingredients that are onions and garlic and can in actual fact and in many ways be considered almost as versatile in culinary terms. While it is true that leeks are not generally consumed raw as onions often would be, this article is devoted to looking at some of the many different ways in which they can be cooked and some delicious recipes in which they can very successfully be incorporated.

Spicy Chicken and Leek Pasty

Spicy chicken and leek pasty half served with homemade chips and red kidney beans

Spicy chicken and leek pasty half served with homemade chips and red kidney beans

Cook Time

Prep time: 20 min

Cook time: 40 min

Ready in: 1 hour

Yields: 2 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 chicken thighs (skinned, boned and chopped to one inch chunks)
  • 2 inch piece leek stem, sliced in to quarter inch discs
  • 1 medium size and strength red chilli, seeded and moderately finely diced
  • Salt and pepper
  • ½ pound puff pastry
  • Flour for rolling pastry
  • 1 small egg, lightly beaten
  • Serving accompaniments of choice (in this instance, homemade chips/fries and canned red kidney beans)

Instructions

  1. Put your oven on to preheat to 200C/400F/Gas Mark 6.
  2. Combine the leek, chicken and chilli pepper pieces in a deep plate or small bowl, seasoning with salt and pepper.
  3. Roll out the pastry on a clean, dry, floured surface to a square large enough that you can use a 13-inch dinner plate to cut from it a circle. Arrange the chicken and leek combination on one half of the circle, leaving a border of around one and a half inches.
  4. Egg wash the semi-circular border before folding the empty half of the pastry over the filling and crimping around the edges.
  5. Lift the assembled pasty to a slightly oiled baking sheet and egg wash all over before cutting three steam vents on the top. Place the sheet in the oven for thirty to thirty-five minutes until the pastry is beautifully golden.
  6. Remove the tray from the oven and lift the pasty to a wire rack to rest for ten minutes. This time can be used to finalise the preparation of your chosen accompaniments.
  7. Cut the pasty in half on a chopping board and lift half to each plate before adding your serving accompaniments.

Spicy Pork Shish Kebab with Sauteed Leek and Bell Peppers

Spicy pork shish kebab meat served with spicy sauteed bell peppers and leek

Spicy pork shish kebab meat served with spicy sauteed bell peppers and leek

Cook Time

Prep time: 1 hour

Cook time: 20 min

Ready in: 1 hour 20 min

Yields: 1 serving

Ingredients

  • 6 ounces pork leg meat, cut to 1 inch chunks
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus extra for frying
  • 1½ teaspoons hot chilli powder (1 teaspoon for marinade and ½ teaspoon for frying leek and peppers)
  • Salt and black pepper
  • ¼ each of red, yellow and green bell peppers, seeded and sliced
  • 1 to 2 inch piece of leek stem, sliced in to discs
  • 2 or 3 shredded basil leaves to garnish

Instructions

  1. Pour a couple of tablespoons of vegetable oil in to a large glass or stone bowl (don't use a plastic bowl—it will become stained by the chilli powder). Add the teaspoon of chilli powder, a good amount of black pepper and a little salt. Stir well to form a smooth paste.
  2. Add the pork to the marinade, stir well, cover with plastic wrap and set aside to marinate for one hour.
  3. Put your kitchen grill/broiler on to reach a medium to high heat.
  4. Carefully thread the pieces pf meat on to a metal skewer. A wooden skewer could be used but should be soaked in cold water for ten minutes in the first instance to prevent it burning and potentially catching fire during cooking.
  5. Lay the skewer on the grilling/broiling tray and cook for around fourteen to sixteen minutes, turning frequently.
  6. When the pork is cooked, hold the skewer with one (protected) hand and slide the pieces of meat off and on to a plate. Allow to rest for a few minutes while you saute the leek and peppers.
  7. Pour about a tablespoon of vegetable oil in to a small, non-stick frying pan and put the pan on to a fairly high heat. Add the sliced peppers and leek. Season with salt, pepper and half a teaspoon of chilli powder and saute for two to three minutes until just softened.
  8. Plate the pork on one half of a plate, the vegetables on the other half and serve.

Spicy Sauteed Leeks with Chilli Sausages and Chips

Pan fried leeks with chilli and garlic are served with chilli sausages and homemade chips

Pan fried leeks with chilli and garlic are served with chilli sausages and homemade chips

Cook Time (not Including Chips)

Prep time: 5 min

Cook time: 20 min

Ready in: 25 min

Yields: 1 serving

Ingredients

  • 3 chilli infused pork sausages
  • Vegetable oil for frying
  • 2 inch leek stem portion, sliced in to discs
  • 1 medium sized and strength red chilli, sliced in to discs
  • 1 ounce (¼ stick) butter
  • Salt and pepper
  • Homemade chips/fries to serve

Instructions

  1. Pour a couple of tablespoons of vegetable oil in to a non-stick frying pan and add the sausages. Fry over a very gentle heat, turning frequently, for about twenty minutes until done. Note that the sausages should never be pricked as this only causes the juices to be lost to the pan. Keep the heat low enough and they shouldn't burst.
  2. When the sausages are just about done, pour some more oil in to a smaller frying pan and bring it up to a medium to high heat. Add the leek and chilli and season with salt and pepper. Saute for a few minutes until just softened.
  3. Plate the sausages with the leek alongside and serve with the chips.

Lamb, Potato and Leek Soup Recipe

Lamb breast, potato and leek soup

Lamb breast, potato and leek soup

Cook Time

Prep time: 1 hour

Cook time: 3 hours

Ready in: 4 hours

Yields: 6 to 8 servings

Ingredients

  • 8 ounce piece of lamb breast
  • 1 carrot, washed, topped, tailed and roughly chopped
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and quartered
  • 1 leek, washed and sliced (keep leaves and stem separate)
  • Small bunch fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • Salt
  • 1 large baking potato, peeled and diced to three-quarter inch chunks

Instructions

  1. Put the breast of lamb in a large soup or stock pot. Add the carrot, onion, sliced leek leaves only, parsley, whole peppercorns and around a teaspoon of salt. Pour in five pints of cold water, stir well and bring to a simmer. Cover and continue to simmer as gently as possible for three hours.
  2. With a large slotted spoon, lift the lamb breast to a seep plate, cover and leave to cool enough that it can be comfortably handled. Turn off the heat under the pot and allow the stock also some time to partly cool.
  3. Carefully pick all the meat away from the bones, stripping the fat off to be discarded with the bones. It's worth taking a bit of time to do this properly, both to get the maximum amount of meat and also to dispose of hopefully all the fat and gristle.
  4. Remove most of the solids from the stock with your slotted spoon and discard with the lamb bones and fat. Strain the stock through a kitchen paper lined sieve over a large bowl. You will likely need to change the paper a few times as it becomes clogged with fat.
  5. Wash out the pot and return to it the strained stock, along with the sliced leek stem and diced potato. Bring to a simmer for fifteen minutes or until the potato pieces are just softened.
  6. The lamb meat should be stirred through the soup and the simmer maintained for a couple of further minutes just to ensure it is heated through. Taste the soup, adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper and it is ready to serve.

Leek and Bacon Stuffed Chicken Thighs en Croute

Leek and bacon stuffed chicken thigh in puff pastry with boiled new potatoes, peas and carrots

Leek and bacon stuffed chicken thigh in puff pastry with boiled new potatoes, peas and carrots

Cook Time

Prep time: 45 min

Cook time: 40 min

Ready in: 1 hour 25 min

Yields: 2 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 skinless chicken thigh fillets
  • 2 rashers British back bacon (or 4 strips American bacon), roughly chopped
  • 2 to 3 inch leek stem section, sliced to ¼ inch discs
  • 1 ounce (¼ stick) unsalted butter, plus extra for potatoes
  • Black pepper
  • ½ pound puff pastry
  • 1 small egg, lightly beaten in a bowl or deep plate
  • Baby new potatoes as required
  • Salt
  • 1 medium carrot, washed, topped, tailed and sliced to ¼ inch discs
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • Generous pinch dried dill

Instructions

  1. Put the butter in to a small saucepan and gently melt. Add the bacon, turn the heat up slightly and saute for a minute or so until the pieces are evenly coloured.
  2. Add the leek stem slices to the pan and season with black pepper. Saute for another couple of minutes or so until the bacon is cooked and the leek is just softened. Turn off the heat, cover and leave for around half an hour to cool completely.
  3. While chicken thighs can sometimes be bought already skinned and boned, this can sometimes make them considerably more expensive. In order to do the job yourself, begin by peeling off the skin. It should come away easily in one whole piece, as easily as the peel from a banana. With a small paring or boning knife, make one deep slit along and right through to the bone. Moving the knife in one direction only, keep slitting on either side of the bone until it is attached only by a narrow strip of flesh. Turn the thigh up on its thicker bone end and scrape down with the knife to free the bone.
  4. Lay the thigh fillets flat on a chopping board that their longer sides run from left to right. Using a teaspoon, lay some of the bacon and leek filling in a downward line about an inch wide in the middle of each fillet. Don't add too much that the fillets can't subsequently be folded/rolled.
  5. Lift one side of each fillet over the filling and roll to fully encase. Set aside.
  6. Divide the pastry in to two equal portions. Roll out to rectangles of a size that a stuffed fillet will sit in one half with around a one inch border on three sides. Brush the pastry with beaten egg to help it stick to the chicken before sitting the rolled fillets in place.
  7. Lift the pastry up and over the fillet edges at the top and bottom that it encloses what will be the sides of the encased fillets and fold over to completely seal. Leave to rest while your oven preheats to 200C/400F/Gas mark 6.
  8. Lightly oil a baking tray and sit the parcels on the tray with the sealed flap down. Brush all over with more beaten egg and cut a couple of steam vents on the top of each assembly. Put in to your oven for thirty to thirty-five minutes until the pastry is risen and golden.
  9. When the stuffed thighs are about ten minutes short of being ready, add the potatoes to a pot of cold salted water and bring to a simmer for about twenty minutes.
  10. Take the stuffed chicken thighs from the oven and sit ion a wire rack to rest for ten to fifteen minutes.
  11. Add the carrot slices to a pot of salted boiling water and simmer for ten minutes. The peas should be added for the final three minutes only.
  12. Drain the potatoes and return to the empty pot. Add a little butter and some dried dill. Swirl the pot to evenly coat.
  13. Drain the carrot and peas and plate meals for service.

© 2016 Gordon Hamilton

Comments

Gordon Hamilton (author) from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom on September 07, 2016:

Thank you, Mary. It's a shame leeks aren't so widely available in Brazil. I tend to use them fairly often. Glad the bit about boning chicken thighs was useful. It's a disgrace how the price is often hiked so much when this has been undertaken by a butcher. Maybe I should start a chicken thigh boning business? :)

Nell Rose on July 27, 2016:

Hiya, good to see your amazing recipes on the right page for a change! lol!

Mary Wickison from Brazil on July 02, 2016:

Excellent recipes incorporating leeks. Although I haven't seen them here in Brazil, it is something I enjoyed in the UK. As you say, they don't get used to their full capacity.

Your tutorial on removing the bone in the thighs was useful, I think many people don't realize how much money can be save by doing this.

As always after reading your recipes, I'm hungry!

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