Posts Tagged ‘Leeks’

Cauliflower risotto

Using one of our favourite vegetables, that strangely we haven’t cooked for a while. Perfect comfort food for chilly evenings.

Wine Suggestion:  not as easy to suggest a wine as we thought given the conflicting flavours but we found that the Quinta Soalheiro Alvarinho Reserva a surprisingly good match. This combined a vibrant freshness with a layer of subtle oak, mineral nuttiness from the fine lees and a textured persistence that both balanced the food and didn’t overwhelm it. This wine continues to surprise with it’s quality and brilliance.

Cauliflower, leek & blue cheese risotto – serves 4

  • ½ a head of cauliflower, broken into florets
  • 25g butter
  • 2 leeks, cut into rings and washed thoroughly
  • 250g risotto rice
  • 1 litre hot chicken stock
  • 25g Parmesan cheese
  • 100g creamy blue cheese, e.g. Cashel blue or dolcelatte, broken into small chunks

Cook the cauliflower florets in boiling salted water until just tender, then drain well and set aside.

Melt the butter in a saucepan and cook the leeks over a low heat for about 10 minutes or until soft. Add the risotto rice and stir around until glistening with the butter. Now add the hot stock a ladleful at a time, stirring continuously until each has been absorbed before adding another. It should take about 25 minutes to add all of the liquid and by this time the rice should be cooked. A few minutes before the end, carefully stir in the cooked cauliflower and stir gently so you don’t break it up to much, then add the Parmesan and blue cheese.

(Original recipe from Food from Plenty by Diana Henry, Mitchell Beazley, 2011.)



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Braised chicken with mustard & leeks

Another suggestion for using up a leek. Chicken, mustard and leeks are natural friends and make for a delicious mid-week dinner.

Wine suggestion: choose a classic pairing with this and go for a Chardonnay. Your choice of which one but both simple and unoaked or sophisticated and expensive white burgundy will work.

Braised chicken with mustard & leeks – serves 2

  • olive oil
  • 4 chicken thigh fillets
  • 1 leek, chopped
  • 100ml white wine/chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 3 tbsp double cream
  • 1 tbsp chopped tarragon

Heat a splash of oil in a wide, deep frying pan and cook the chicken thigh fillets until golden on both sides.

Add the leek to the pan and cook until softened.

Add the wine or stock, then cover and simmer for 5 minutes.

Stir in the Dijon mustard and double cream and continue to simmer with the lid off until slightly thickened.

Stir through the chopped tarragon, season to taste and serve with either some steamed rice or mashed potatoes.

(Original recipe from BBC Olive Magazine, January 2015.)


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Cheesy leek baked potatoes

We’re regularly left with a rogue leek in the bottom of the fridge and it usually finds its way into a dish like this, particularly if there is some cream lurking as well. Quantities don’t matter too much here so use what you’ve got.

  • Baking potatoes
  • Butter
  • Leeks, sliced finely
  • Cream
  • Cheddar cheese, grated

Heat the oven to 220°C.

Rub the potatoes with olive oil and place on a tray in the oven to bake for 20 minutes. Turn the oven down to 200ºC and continue to cook for about another hour.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large frying pan and gently sauté the leeks until they are meltingly tender. Add the cream and bubble together until you have a thick sauce.

When the potatoes are soft, cut them in half and scoop out the centres, leaving a thin layer of potato on the skins. Mash the removed potato, mix with the creamy leeks and season with salt and lots of pepper. Pile this mixture back into the potato skins and sprinkle over the grated cheese. Return to the oven for a few minutes until the cheese has melted and started to brown.

Serve this on its own for a midweek supper or as a side dish with chargrilled chops or sausages.


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Chicken, Ham & Leek Pie

We love a chicken pie, particularly with sweet leeks and a rich creamy sauce.

Wine Suggestion: the classic suggestion, and our first thought, was to drink a lighter chardonnay with this, but we found a great alternative in the Salwey Weissburgunder “RS” which is a Pinot Blanc from Baden in Germany. An amazing wine with lovely fruit and a texture that holds it all together giving it a long finish and makes a good match with the creamy sauce and pastry. Every time we taste this wine we are impressed and think it is one to put Pinot Blanc back on the wine drinkers lists.

Chicken, Ham & Leek Pie – serves 4

For the filling: 

  • 450ml chicken stock
  • 3 chicken breasts fillets
  • 75g butter
  • 2 leeks, cut into 1cm slices
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 50g plain flour
  • 200ml milk
  • 2-3 tbsp white wine
  • 150ml double cream
  • 150g piece thickly carved ham, cut into 2cm chunks

For the pastry: 

  • 350g plain flour
  • 200g butter
  • 1 egg beaten with 1 tbsp cold water, plus an additional egg, beaten, to glaze

Heat the chicken stock in a saucepan. Add the chicken breasts and bring a gentle simmer. Cover with a lid and cook for 10 minutes. Remove the chicken breasts and set aside, then pour the stock into a jug.

Melt 25g of the butter in a large heavy-based saucepan over a low heat. Stir in the chopped leeks and fry gently for a couple of minutes, stirring now and then, until softened. Add the garlic and continue to cook for another minute, then set aside. Add the rest of the butter and stir in the flour as soon as it has melted. Cook for 30 seconds, stirring constantly.

Slowly add the milk to the pan, stirring well between each addition. Then gradually add 250ml of the reserved stock and the wine until the sauce is smooth and slightly thickened. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook for 3 minutes.

Season the sauce, remove from the heat and stir in the cream. Pour into a large bowl and cover with cling film to stop a skin forming on the top. Set aside until cool.

Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6 and put a baking tray into heat.

To make the pastry, put the flour and butter into a food processor and pulse until the mixture looks like fine breadcrumbs. Keep the motor running while you add the beaten egg with water and blend until the mixture comes together in a ball. Carefully remove from the processor and set aside about 250g of the pastry to make your lid.

Roll the remaining pastry out on a lightly floured surface, turning frequently until about 5mm thick and larger than your pie dish. Lift the pastry over your rolling pin and gently place into the pie dish. Press firmly up the sides of the dish and make sure no air bubbles remain. Leave the excess pastry hanging over the sides.

Cut the cooked chicken into 3cm pieces. Stir the chicken, ham & leeks into the cooled sauce, then pour into the pie dish. Brush the rim of the dish with beaten egg and roll out the reserved pastry to make a lid.

Cover the pie with the pastry lid and press the edges together firmly to seal. Trim off any excess pastry.

Make a small hole in the centre of the pie with the tip of a knife. Glaze the top with beaten egg. Bake on the hot baking tray in the centre of the oven for 35-40 minutes or until golden brown and piping hot.

(Original recipe from The Hairy Bikers’ Best of British).


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Pot-roast Chicken with Chorizo, Leek and Cider

A great array of flavours and super-moist roast chicken. Chorizo cooked in cider is often served as a tapa in Spain and it’s delicious!

Wine Suggestion: A Spanish cider would be of course be great with this or failing that a good quality dry cider from somewhere else. If you feel like wine we’d recommend a really smooth Rioja.

Pot-roasted Chicken with Chorizo, Leeks & Cider – serves 4

  • 1 x 1.75kg chicken
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cooking chorizo sausages, sliced
  • 50g butter
  • 700g leeks, washed and sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 300g baby carrots, trimmed and peeled
  • Leaves from 2 large sprigs of thyme
  • 2 fresh bay leaves
  • 200ml dry cider

Preheat the oven to 160C/Gas 3.

Season the cavity and outside of the chicken with salt and black pepper.

Heat the oil in a large flameproof casserole dish and brown the chicken on all sides until golden, then set aside.

Lower the heat and add the chorizo, butter, leeks, garlic, carrots, thyme and bay leaves. Cover and cook gently until the leeks have softened.

Place the chicken on top of the vegetables in the casserole dish, pour over the cider, then cover and cook in the oven for 1 hour. Remove the lid from the casserole dish and turn the oven up to 200C/Gas 6. Continue to cook for another 20 minutes or until the chicken skin is browned.

Remove the chicken from the casserole and onto a carving board, cover with foil. Skim the excess fat from the surface of the vegetable juices, then place over a medium heat and simmer vigorously for 5 minutes to reduce. Season to taste with more salt if needed.

To carve the chicken, remove the legs and cut each one in half at the joint. Carve the breast in slices. Use a slotted spoon to put the chorizo and vegetables onto the centre of the plates and place the chicken on top. Spoon the cooking juices over to serve.

(Original recipe from Rick Stein’s Spain, BBC Books, 2011.)


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Leek Gratin


A true comfort food if there ever was one, and a versatile side for simply barbecued meats, roast chicken and a whole host of mains. It’s fairly rich so a little goes a long way.

Baked Creamy Leeks – serves 6 as a side dish

  • 800g leeks, roughly chopped and rinsed well in a sieve
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely sliced
  • 2 knobs of butter
  • olive oil
  • 6 sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves picked
  • 100g Cheddar cheese, grated
  • 200ml single cream

Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°C/gas 6.

Warm a large frying pan over a medium heat and add the butter with a splash of olive oil and the garlic.

As soon as the garlic starts to colour, add the leeks and thyme leaves and stir. Turn up the heat and continue to cook for about 10 minutes or until the leeks have softened.

Remove from the heat and season with salt and pepper. Add the cream and half the cheese. Mix well in a suitably sized baking dish (you want a layer about 2.5cm thick). Sprinkle over the remaining cheese and bake for about 20 minutes or until brown and bubbling.

(Original recipe from Jamie’s Ministry of Food, Penguin, 2008.)


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Delicious chicken pie. Prepare the filling ahead, then add the pastry and bake to feed a crowd.

Chicken & Leek Pie – serves 6-8

  • 1.2kg boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 2 tbsp plain flour, seasoned
  • 2 large leeks, quartered lengthwise and sliced
  • 150g unsalted butter
  • large handful of chopped parsley
  • 170ml milk
  • 250ml cream
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • puff pastry or mashed potato

Chop each chicken thigh into about 12 pieces and toss with the flour. Melt half the butter in a large frying pan and sauté the leeks for about 10 minutes or until softened. Tip into a bowl and set aside.

Melt half the remaining butter in the same pan and sauté half the chicken pieces until golden and barely cooked. Add to the bowl with the leeks. Repeat with the rest of the butter and chicken.

Mix the chicken and leeks together along with the parsley. Return half of the mixture to the pan, add half the milk and half the cream and bubble for 5 minutes. Transfer to a clean bowl and repeat with the rest of the chicken, cream and milk. Combine the batches, check the seasoning and cool.

Preheat the oven to 200ºC.

Put the chicken filling into a 1.5 litre pie dish and cover with the puff pastry or mashed potato. Brush with the beaten egg and bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden.

Wine Suggestion: We are big fans of good Bordeaux white wine and this dish works well with the balance of flavours of oaked Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc. The toasty buttery character complements the flavours and the clean and fresh texture balances any richness of the dish. Look out for some of the smaller Chateau that are up and coming like Chateau Bouscaut; the 2010 worked a treat here.

(Original recipe from The Cook’s Companion by Stephanie Alexander, Lantern, 1996.)


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