100 Vegetables: #64. Leeks

Leeks are so essential in Winter, adding a gentle onion flavour to dishes like soups, or shining on their own when braised, grilled or slow cooked. We love our Leek dishes.

You can browse all of our Leek recipes. And check out our 100 Vegetable Series.

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Wintery Carrot and Parsnip Turmeric Soup

When you have the Winter blues, when the Winter Lurgy has you in it’s grips, when you dream of sunshine because it has been absent for so long, it is time for soup! Soup restores sanity, spirits, optimism and health.

This soup takes a tray full of roasted vegetables and whizzes them into a soup. I’ve layered flavours with roasted onions as well as butter-sweated leeks, white pepper and black pepper, and the tiered flavours of Garam Masala. Underpinning it all is a healthy dose of turmeric and garlic, ingredients that will keep you healthy, or make you better when you are not at the top of your game. Into it all goes the sweet-tart caramelised flavours of roasted lemon for that needed hit of “sour” that enlivens any dish. It also balances out the sweetness of Winter carrots.

Carrots are best in winter. There is something about the coldness of Winter that intensifies the flavour of carrots. How precious they are in their sweetness and affinity for a range of vegetable combinations.

You might like to read more about the Spice mix, Garam Masala. As mentioned, it is used in this recipe to add layers of spice flavours which are warming without necessarily being hot in the chilli-hot sense. The spice mix for garam masala varies from region to region, so if you have not used it before, add a little at first, taste, and add more until it suits your spice comfort levels.

Similar recipes include Spicy Crushed Carrots with Yoghurt, 10 Min Broth and Bits Soup, French Carrot Soup, South Indian Carrot Soup, Carrot and Roasted Tomato Soup, and Roasted Carrot and Apple Soup.

All of our Soup recipes are here, (specifically our Carrot Soups here) and browse our Carrot recipes.  Or explore our wonderful Mid Winter recipes, especially our Mid Winter Soups.

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Burrata with Leeks and Za’atar

The sad news regarding ingredient availability near my home is that the new huge supermarket that opened with an amazing array of cheeses has downsized that section to about 1/4 its original size. So cheeses like burrata – I was so excited when they originally stocked it – are no longer part of their inventory. This means it became a luxury item once again and I have to travel into the city if I need it. I adore burrata as a replacement for eggs in dishes where the eggs would be nestled into a base or served on top of, say, a salad.

I cannot complain too much, though. There is an extraordinary range of Asian, SE Asian and Middle Eastern ingredients available in this area, including hot Middle Eastern flatbread straight from the oven. I am blessed!

This is a quick way to get a very comforting meal on the table in a wonderfully short amount of time. It’s a dish as happily eaten for brunch, with coffee, as it is for a light supper with some crusty white bread and a glass of wine. The leeks and spinach can be made a day ahead and kept in the fridge, ready for the burrata and feta.

After a trip to Adelaide’s Central Market and a fresh stock of burrata, I went back to Ottolenghi’s Simple to make his brunch dish of Leeks, Spinach and Za’atar. It is divine – you should try it. I made the usual adjustments, which I share below, but the link will take you to the original recipe.

Similar recipes include Eggplant, Potato and Tomato, Sweet and Sour Leeks with Burrata, Celeriac Hummus with Spiced Cauliflower and Burrata, and Slow Cooked Tomato Chickpeas with Burrata.

Browse all of our Leek recipes and all of our Burrata dishes. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Simple are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through Plenty More. Or explore our Early Winter recipes.

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Seasonal Cooking | Simple Beautiful Summer Salads

Sometimes we forget that simplest is bestest.

Elizabeth David is the best source of simple but utterly delicious salads. I love to read her books, and today I have taken the liberty of reproducing some of her beautiful salads.

Similar posts include 30 Great Salads for Early Summer.

Browse all of our Salad recipes and all of our Early Summer dishes.

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French White Bean and Leek Soup | Crème d’Haricots

In 1990, Le Crueset published a book called French Country Kitchen, and it is still one of the best recipe books I have for simple but authentic French recipes. I spent quite some time working in France, so this is a go-to book when I am feeling nostalgic about French people, food, cheese, wine, and their habit of sitting observing the day. Sadly, most of the book is non-veg, but the Soups, Salads, Vegetable and Hor d’Oeuvres chapters provide just enough vegetarian recipes to justify its place in the cookbook bookshelves.

It is Spring time right now, with all of it’s changeable weather, and we have had storms for the past week. I suddenly had a yearning for soup. This easy soup from the Le Crueset book is perfect. Beans are soaked, simmered with leeks and herbs, and then pureed with cream.

The recipe specifies flageolet beans – when I began cooking with these beans in the 1980’s they were available locally but a recent hunt for them failed to locate any. They can be purchased online, dried or canned, but are rather expensive here. It seems that they are grown in Australia and are very popular (!!) but that might be an exaggeration. So I substitute any white bean that I currently have in the pantry.

Similar recipes include White Beans and Pasta in a Beautiful Broth, White Bean and Broccoli Soup, Greek White Bean Soup, Italian White Bean Soup, and French Cream of Tomato Soup.

Browse all of our Soups and all of our French recipes. Or simply explore our Mid Spring dishes.

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Leeks with Quinces | Praso Lathro me Kydonia

I always associated Quinces with English food, for some reason, but in my quest for Quince recipes (thanks to buckets of them from a friend), I find the best ones in Middle Eastern and Greek cuisines.

This one is a Greek recipe, from Macedonia and Thrace. It simmers leeks with tomatoes and quinces for an excellent wintery side dish. It can be cooked in the oven too, should you wish to warm the kitchen as the dish bakes. It is a variation on another local dish which cooks leeks with prunes and tomatoes.

Similar recipes include Quince and Split Pea Stew, Spiced Quinces, and Quince Pickle.

Browse all of our Quince recipes, and our Leek dishes. Our Greek recipes are here. Or enjoy browsing our Late Winter collection of dishes.

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Sweet and Sour Leeks with Burrata

Leeks are not often the primary ingredient in a dish, but just occasionally, and justifiably, they are the centrepiece. Their creamy flavour when slow cooked or braised is a delightful Winter element that is best appreciated outside of the soups and purees that they usually inhabit. The sweet oniony flavour is a surprise to people who have not experience it before.

These leeks are braised in wine and olive oil, then sautéed a little to give colour to the pieces, before being served with a sweet-sour sauce and creamy cheese.

This is an Ottolenghi dish from Plenty More – we are cooking our way through this book and have written about our experiences. We feel free to substitute ingredients that are not readily available in our local area.

In fact it is Ottolenghi Cooking the Books day on the blog – one of two days per month where we publish the latest recipes we have tried in our project of cooking from Ottolenghi books – those we have cooked directly and those we have been inspired by. Currently we are cooking from Plenty More, but not ignoring his other books completely. Note that I often massage the recipes to suit what is available from our garden and pantry. For the original recipes, check his books and his Guardian column.

Similar recipes include Fresh Mozzarella with Chargrilled Grapes, Buratta with Leeks and Za’atar, Leeks and Carrots a la Grecque, and Cream of Tomato and Potato Soup with Leeks.

Browse all of our Leek recipes and recipes using Burrata. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty More are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through this book. Or explore our Late Autumn recipes.

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Spicy Slow Cooked Tomato Chickpeas with Burrata and Leeks, Perfect for Breakfast or Supper

Sunday afternoons in Winter are the perfect time for slowing down, and what better way to do that than to slow cook a great dish for a Sunday night supper. Today, we have a 5-hour dish for you – chickpeas simmered ever so slowly in a thick spicy tomato stock. The chickpeas are excellent served on toast or in toasted sandwiches, but today we add some burrata and leek strings. We love slow cooking.

This recipe is excellent for a Sunday supper, but also very good, cooked beforehand, for a slow Sunday breakfast or brunch. Beans on Toast, what could be better!

The dish can be cooked in a slow cooker. (Perhaps it is one for your instapot? I don’t have one, so cannot advise you one way or another, but perhaps? Let me know.) It would also go well at a low heat in the oven. Or, cook it as I have, using a heat diffuser on my lowest gas flame, so that the tomato sauce is barely bubbling.

The recipe is an adaptation of one in Ottolenghi’s Plenty More – we are cooking our way through this book. We feel free to substitute ingredients that are not readily available in our local area.

In fact, it is Ottolenghi day on the blog – one of two days per month where we publish all the latest posts of recipes we have tried in our project of cooking from Ottolenghi books – those we have cooked directly and those we have been inspired by. Currently we are cooking from Plenty More but not ignoring his other books completely. Note that I often massage the recipes to suit what is available from our garden and pantry. For the original recipes, check his books and his Guardian column (this recipe is on the same theme but slightly different, and quicker, than the one in his book).

Similar recipes include Greek Chickpeas Slow Baked with Herbs and TomatoesBuratta with Leeks and Za’atar, Chana Masala, Baked Lima Beans with Celery, Tuscan Baked Beans with Sage and Lemon, and Rustic Spicy Butter Beans.

Browse all of our Baked Beans recipes, and all of our Chickpea dishes. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty More are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through this book. Or explore our Late Autumn recipes.

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Potage Crème de Tomates et de Pommes de Terre | Cream of Tomato and Potato Soup with Leeks

Today we have one of Elizabeth David’s Divine Dishes, a Retro Recipe – one we have been making for decades. It is a Soup for late Summer and Early Autumn through to Winter (tip – freeze tomatoes in Autumn so that you can make this soup in Winter).

This is so simple, cheap but flavoursome, and quite beautiful. Elizabeth David claims that you can taste the butter, the cream and each vegetable. You can!

Similar recipes include How to Make Perfect Cream Soups, Sweet and Sour Leeks with Burrata, Creamy Tomato Soup with Lemongrass and Ginger, Roasted Tomato and Sweet Corn Soup, and Rustic Tomato Soup with Feta.

Browse our our Soup recipes and our French recipes. We have various Potato Soups and Tomato Soups. Or just explore our Late Autumn Dishes.

This recipe is one of the vegetarian recipes from our first blog which was in existence from 1995 – 2006. You can explore more of the Retro Recipes series, our vegetarian recipes from that first blog.

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Leeks and Carrots a la Grecque with Tomatoes and Herbs

This is a beautiful Autumn and Winter dish that can also be made with Spring vegetables. Today it might be Spring here, but leeks and carrots are still on the menu on the colder days of this transitional season. We have had such cold weather this year, even breaking records for the coldest November day in 50 years.

You can vary this dish. For example, use leeks only, or carrots only.  Potatoes on their own are also very very good.

Read about Cooking a la Grecque Style.

Similar recipes include Golden Brown Carrots with Garlic, Sweet and Sour Leeks with Burrata, Leeks and Carrots a la Grecque, Mushrooms a la GrecqueCauliflower a la Grecque, and Fennel a la Grecque.

You might like to browse our Leek recipes, and our “a la Grecque” recipes. Also check out our easy Mid Winter recipes.

This dish is one of the vegetarian recipes from our first blog which was in existence from 1995 – 2006.  You can find other recipes from that blog in the Retro Recipes series.

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