Leeks are delicious and extremely simple to cook. Find out how to prepare and cook leeks in this simple guide.
Serve up leeks today and you'll be in the company of those who built the pyramids, Roman Emperor Nero and, of course, the Welsh Army at the time of St David.
Ancient Greek physician Hippocrates even prescribed them as an antidote to nosebleeds!
I've never eaten a leek to stop a nosebleed but I do agree with Nero that they well worth eating!
Leeks have many uses
Leeks often appear in vegetable boxes and bags throughout the winter months.
However, it's all too easy to let them shrivel up in the bottom of the fridge.
This is a shame because they are extremely useful as well as delicious tasting.
Leeks are a member of the allium family of vegetables (along with onions, garlic, chives and shallots). This means that they can be used in place of onions in many recipes.
Some ideas for cooking with leeks
- in stir fries
- in soups
- as a base for vegetable stock
- with potatoes
- in a frittata or omelette
- with cheese
- raw in a salad
- in Turkish cuisine.
Fun facts about leeks
Want to share some fun facts about leeks with your kids? Here are some to get your started:
- Leeks have been farmed since the time of the Ancient Egyptians and were probably eaten by the people who built the pyramids.
- Hippocrates - an Ancient Greek physician - prescribed leeks as a cure for nosebleeds.
- According to legend the Welsh army wore leeks in their hats during a battle with the Saxons in 640AD - leeks are still the Welsh national emblem!
- Roman Emperor Nero was known as Porophagus - leek eater - because he ate so many of them. He believed that they'd help him sing better.
Source British Leeks.
Like many vegetables leeks are a full of nutrients including:
- vitamin A (which helps with vision and the immune system)
- vitamin K
- vitamin B6
- flavonoid kaempferol
Source: The Guardian.
How to cook leeks
Leeks can be boiled or steamed. Follow the preparation instructions below and then boil or steam for 10 minutes or until soft.
While boiled leeks are good, leeks sautéed in olive oil or butter on the other hand are exquisite. This is my preferred way to cook them.
How to sauté leeks
For full recipe, ingredients and quantities go to the printable recipe card at the end of this post.
1. Trim the ends off of the leeks, discarding any thick, dark green leaves. Rinse well under running water as leeks often have mud hidden between their leaves.
2. Slice into rounds and rinse again in a colander if you can see any mud.
3. Heat 1-2 tablespoons butter or olive oil in a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat.
4. Add the leeks and stir well, cooking for around 10 minutes until softened. You can cover with a lid and reduce the heat to low to speed the process up a bit.
5. Use them in the recipe of your choice - or try them with cheese on toast.
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Please do not reproduce this recipe without permission.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil or butter or vegan butter
- 2 large leeks
- pinch sea salt to taste, optional
- Trim the ends of leeks, discarding any thick, dark green leaves. Rinse well under running water as leeks often have mud hidden between their leaves.
- Slice into rounds and rinse again in a colander if you can see any mud.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat.
- Add the leeks and stir well, cooking for around 10 minutes until softened. You can cover with a lid and reduce the heat to low to speed the process up a bit. Stir often.
- Season with salt if desired.