Leeks, which are a type of onion, aren’t sold by variety in Australia – although smaller leeks can be sold as baby leeks. Leeks have a thick white base and long, thick white stalks with large, fan-shaped green leaves.
Choose leeks with crisp white bottoms and fresh-looking tops with green leaves.
Store leeks in a plastic bag in the crisper of your fridge for up to a week.
Trim away the leaves, dark green part of the stem, roots and any tough outer parts of the leek. Cut in half lengthways, then rinse under cold running water, removing any dirt between layers. Chop as needed. Leeks have a mild, sweet onion taste and can be steamed, stir-fried, boiled and microwaved. They’re great in soups, casseroles, bakes, sauces, quiches, served as a vegie side dish or stuffed. They can also be used in place of onions in many recipes.
3 ways with leeks
Make a chicken and leek pasta bake: Preheat oven to 200°C. Spray a pan with oil. Cook 1 finely chopped onion and 1 trimmed and sliced leek, until soft. Add 1 cup frozen mixed vegies and 1 1/2 cups cooked, shredded chicken breast. Cook for 3–4 minutes, then add 2 tablespoons flour. Stir, then add a 375ml can evaporated skim milk and simmer for 1–2 minutes. Add 250g cooked pasta. Toss to coat, then place into a large baking dish. Top with 1/2 cup reduced-fat grated cheese. Bake for 15–20 minutes, or until golden.
Try this tasty omelette: Spray a pan with oil and place over medium heat. Add 2 trimmed and thinly sliced leeks and 2 cloves crushed garlic and cook, stirring, for 10 minutes or until leeks are soft. Add 1/2 cup thinly sliced mushrooms and 1 thinly sliced red capsicum. Cook for 5 more minutes. Add 100g baby spinach leaves and stir to combine. Cook for a further 30 seconds or until spinach is wilted. Spoon leek mixture over a cooked, plain egg omelette.
Make a warming soup: Spray a large saucepan with oil. Gently fry 2 sliced leeks and 2 cups sliced fennel, then cover and cook for 5 minutes. Add 3 peeled and diced potatoes, 2 cloves crushed garlic, 1 1/2 cups skim milk and 1 1/2 cups reduced-salt vegetable stock. Simmer for 10 minutes. Purée soup in a blender until smooth (add a little more milk if too thick). Serve with grainy rolls.