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Posts Tagged ‘Leek’

This is all you need with some fresh bread and butter. The simple things are the best.

Wine Suggestion: For a wine to work with this dish you need to balance a crisp, acidity to cut through the cream, body to match the depth of flavour and a minerally-savouriness to compliment the briny backbone of flavour from the mussels. If you look to a good Chablis producer or a top Muscadet then you’ll find your solution. We chose Jérémie Huchet’s lieu dit Les Montys le Parc from a very special vineyard in Muscadet that has that extra depth to match this rich, full flavoured dish.

Mussel, bacon and leek soup – serves 2

  • 750g mussels
  • 2 bay leaves
  • a small handful of parsley, leaves picked and chopped and stalks reserved
  • a knob of butter
  • 75g streaky bacon, cut into small pieces
  • ¼ tsp coriander seeds, toasted and crushed
  • 1 garlic clove, finely sliced
  • 1 leek, finely sliced
  • 250ml fish stock (or veg stock)
  • 75ml double cream
  • a small handful of chives, finely snipped

Wash the mussels in cold water and remove any beards. Give any open mussels a hard tap and discard them if they don’t close.

Put 75ml of water into a large saucepan with a tight fitting lid. Add the parsley stalks and bay leaves and bring to the boil. Add the mussels, clamp on the lid, and cook for 2-3 minutes or until the mussels have opened. Give the pan a good shake now and and then as they cook.

Tip the mussels into a colandar set over a bowl to catch all of the cooking juices, you will need the these later so don’t throw them away.

Wipe out the pan and return to the heat. Add a knob of butter, then gently fry the bacon until begining to crisp. Add the coriander seeds, garlic, and leek and season with salt and pepper. Cook for about 8 minutes, stirring now and then, until the leeks are nice and soft.

Add the mussel cooking liquid (watch out for the gritty bit at the bottom which you can discard) and the stock, then simmer uncovered for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, pick the meat out of the mussels but leave about 12 in their shells to garnish.

Add the cream to the soup and bring back to a simmer. Add the mussel meat, chives and parsley and check the seasoning. Serve in warm bowls, garnished with the mussels in their shells and with bread and butter on the side.

(Original recipe from Outside by Gill Meller, Quadrille, 2022)

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We’ve been making a soup most weeks. This one is from The Christmas Chronicles by Nigel Slater. Suitably seasonal.

Cauliflower and leek soup with toasted cheese – serves 4

  • 3 medium leeks, discard the coarse part of green leaves and roughly chop
  • 30g butter
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1kg cauliflower, trimmed and thickly sliced
  • 1 litre vegetable stock (we use Marigold Swiss Bouillon powder)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 10g parsley leaves
  • 4 slices of sourdough bread
  • 100g of cheese, something that will melt, we used Gruyére

Warm the butter with the olive oil in a large saucepan. Add the leeks and cover, then cook over a low heat, until the leeks are soft but not browned. 

Add the cauliflower to the softened leeks. Stir briefly, then add the stock and bring to the boil. Add the bay leaves and a little salt, then lower the heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes, until soft. 

Process half the soup in a blender until very smooth. Add a handful of the parsley to the rest of the soup and blend this batch to a thick, rough texture. Mix the two together and season with salt and black pepper. 

Spread sourdough with a little butter or oil and toast under a hot grill. Turn the bread over and cover the other side with thick slices of cheese, then return to the grill until melted. Divide the soup between bowls and float the cheesy toasts on top. 

(Original recipe from The Christmas Chronicles by Nigel Slater, Fourth Estate, 2017)

 

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Salmon with Greens & Crème Fraîche

It’s often fish at ours on Friday and this one tasted of Spring. The perfect end to a sunny day. We don’t freeze much veg but are never without frozen peas and broad beans. We served with steamed waxy potatoes with butter and mint but mash would be good too.

Wine Suggestion: a light, seafood friendly white. One of our favs is the Allo from Northern Portugal which has a salty tang and tastes of sunshine in a glass.

Salmon with Greens & Crème Fraîche – serves 4

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 leek, thinly sliced
  • 250ml chicken stock/fish stock
  • 100g crème fraîche
  • 140g frozen peas
  • 140g frozen broad beans
  •  4 skinless salmon fillets
  • small bunch of chives

Season the salmon with salt and pepper.

Heat the olive oil in a large, deep frying pan with a lid. Add the leek and cook gently for 5-10 minutes, until softened but not browned.

Add the stock, bring to the boil, then simmer for a few minutes to reduce a bit.

Add the crème fraîche, peas and broad beans and season, then nestle in the salmon fillets. Cover and simmer gently for about 12 minutes or until the salmon is cooked.

Sprinkle over the chives to serve.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

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Winter root vegetable soup

So here we are almost March and we are experiencing an artic blast. The snow is piled up at the back door and Dubliners have been advised to stay indoors tomorrow as more is on the way. Soup seems like our only defence. Nothing fancy here but full of fresh vegetable flavours. It will protect you against almost all weather eventualities, or at least both fill and warm you up.

Winter Root Vegetable Soup – serves 6 to 8

  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 leek, sliced
  • 2 potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 2 litres vegetable stock
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 1 parsnip, chopped
  • 1 small celeriac, peeled and chopped

Melt the butter in a large pot over a medium to high heat. As soon as it has melted and started to froth, add the onion, leek and potatoes. Sauté for a couple of minutes, then cover and sweat over a low heat for 8 minutes.

Add the stock, the rest of the vegetables and some salt and pepper (white pepper would be our preference), then lower the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes, partially covered. Taste the vegetables to check that they are completely soft, then check the seasoning before serving.

(Original recipe from Fresh by Donal Skeehan, Hodder & Stoughton, 2015.)

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Potato & Leek Gratin

Seasonal comfort food for dark nights and lashing rain. This gratin would work as a side for roast lamb or chicken, or like we did, add a little ham make it a weekday meal.

Potato & Leek Gratin – serves 4

  • 125ml chicken or vegetable stock
  • carton double cream
  • 150ml milk
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • a knob of butter
  • 800g potato, peeled and thinly sliced (use a mandolin if you have one)
  • 2 leeks, washed and thinly sliced
  • 175g good quality sliced ham, chopped (optional)
  • 85g cheddar, grated

Pour the stock, cream and milk into a small saucepan with the garlic and bay leaf and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat and leave to infuse.

Preheat the oven to 180C/Gas 4/. Butter a 2 litre gratin dish well. Mix the potatoes, leeks and ham together and put into the gratin dish in an even layer. Pour over the creamy stock and tuck in the bay leaf. Season and sprinkle the cheese over the top.

Loosely cover with foil, set on a baking tray and bake for 30 minutes. Test the potatoes with a knife – they should be just beginning to soften. Remove the foil and bake for another 35-45 minutes, spooning some of the stock mixture over every now and again until the potatoes are tender. Cool for 15 minutes or so before serving.

(Original recipe from BBC Good Food)

Wine suggestion: We had a bottle of Reyneke Organic Syrah from South Africa opened to try as they’ve been getting great press lately, and we love how they integrate their workers into the whole process, genuinely giving back and involving the community. We thought it might have been too big and rich for the gratin but they complimented each other really well.

Reyneke Organic Syrah

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