Diva Tasting: Leeks 101; Tip of the Day…

Leeks 101; Tip of the Day

How to Cut Leeks

Cut off the root and the tough green leaves at the top.

Cut the leek in half lengthwise.

If you’re not cooking whole leeks, go ahead and lay them cut-side-down and cut them into half moons.

How to Wash Leeks

Leeks hold a lot of dirt between their sheaths, so cleaning them is extra important. You can do so one of three ways:

Use a colander: Place the whole or sliced leeks into a colander and rinse with running water, using your hands to toss them until all dirt and debris are gone. Blot dry with a paper towel.

Soak: Soak leeks in cold water for about 30 minutes, repeating until there is no dirt in the water.

Use a salad spinner: Fill a salad spinner with sliced leeks and rinse with cold water. Spin the leeks in the salad spinner until dry.

How to Cook With Leeks

Braised, steamed, sautéed, poached, or pureed, a sturdy-looking leek cooks down to velvety sweetness. French Leek Potato Soup is a favorite dish in which leeks and potatoes are pureed in a cream-based soup. You can also add sliced likes to a creamy dip to add onion-like flavor without overwhelming the dip. Try roasting them whole and serving alongside meats or eggs. Or don’t cook them at all! Sliced leeks make a crunchy, fibrous topping for soups and salads.

How to Store Leeks

Leeks can keep for months when stored in a root cellar, or up to two weeks when loosely wrapped in plastic and kept in the fridge. Don’t wash or trim them until you’re ready to use, as this can help prevent their odor from being absorbed by neighboring foods.

Leek vs. Green Onions

Green onions are the best substitute for leeks, however, they’re still quite different. Unlike leeks which tenderize while cooking, green onions can become slimy under high heat. Green onions have a much pungent flavor than leeks, which is why they are generally added to dishes after cooking to add freshness and crunch.

Vichyssoise

Ingredients

2 Leeks, Chopped

1 Onion, Chopped

2 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter

¾ Cup Thinly Sliced Potatoes

2 ⅓ Cups Chicken Stock

Salt To Taste

Ground Black Pepper To Taste

1 ⅛ Cups Heavy Whipping Cream

Directions

Step 1 Gently sweat the chopped leeks and the chopped onion in butter or margarine until soft, about 8 minutes. Do NOT let them brown.

Step 2 Add potatoes and stock to the saucepan. Salt and pepper to taste; do not overdo them! Bring to the boil, and simmer very gently for 30 minutes.

Step 3 Puree in a blender or food processor until very smooth. Cool. Gently stir in the cream before serving.

Chicken n ‘ Leeks

Ingredients

1 Tablespoon Extra-Virgin Olive Oil

8 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Thighs

4 Cups Baby Bella Mushrooms, Thinly Sliced

2 Leeks, Thinly Sliced

Cup Dry White Wine

1 ½ Cups Reduced-Sodium Chicken Broth

2 Teaspoons Cornstarch

Cup Low-Fat Sour Cream

1 ½ Teaspoons Dijon Mustard

Salt To Taste

Ground Black Pepper To Taste

Directions

Step 1 Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken; cook until well browned and no longer pink in the center, 4 to 5 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate, cover, and keep warm.

Step 2 Add mushrooms and leeks to the skillet. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until most of the moisture has evaporated and mushrooms begin to brown, 4 to 6 minutes. Add wine; cook for about 1 minute. Mix broth and cornstarch together in a small bowl; add to the skillet and cook until thickened, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in sour cream and mustard; cook and stir until combined, about 1 minute. Season sauce with salt and pepper.

Step 3 Nestle chicken thighs into the sauce. Cook until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of a thigh reads 165 degrees F (74 degrees C), 8 to 10 minutes more.

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