Beautiful organic leeks, straight from our fields. We choose the tastiest varieties and grow them slowly for flavour. One of the first crops we ever grew at Riverford, they’re still a favourite. Punchy and potent, they turn gorgeously sweet when cooked. From simple leek and potato soup to elegant leeks vinaigrette, these kitchen stalwarts will make your plate sing.
Storage & prep
Will keep for a week or so
Storage: Will keep happily for a week or so in your fridge. If you’ve kept them for too long and they begin to look a bit shabby you can strip away and discard the top few layers. You’ll know when they are no good to eat – nothing smells quite like a rotting leek.
Prep: Always wash a leek as they love to trap mud and grit in their funnel shaped leaves. This is best done by splitting them in half and cleaning them in cold water with the leaves pointing down.
You can use more of a leek than you think. The dark green tops are tough but perfect for stock pots and long cooked stews. If you fumble through the layers you’ll find a core as light, tender and usable as the lower part.
Steamed or boiled: Leeks will cook faster than you think, 3-4 mins when sliced, 8-10 when whole. This will, of course, vary with their size. Always season the water well with salt if boiling. Whole leeks are done when the tip of a knife will pass through without much resistance.
Griddled: Trim the leeks and keep whole. Boil or steam as above. Strip away the top layer of skin. Season lightly with salt. Heat a griddle pan or BBQ rack until smoking hot. Split the leeks in half lengthways. Place them on the griddle for about 20 seconds each side, or so they have taken the line marks but not started to burn.
Slow cook: Leeks, like their cousin the onion, will be transformed by a low and slow spell in a pan. Slice or dice your leeks and sweat down on a gentle heat. Oil is fine but adding butter is a marriage made in heaven. Take care not to let them colour and burn – unlike onions this makes them bitter and unpalatable.
Soup: Leeks are made for a warming soup bowl. Use a slow-fried shredded leek as a base for your chosen soup in place of an onion, or see our website for a classic leek and potato soup recipe.
Leek, mascarpone & lemon gnocchi
This chopped pesto is chunkier than normal, and adds texture to the otherwise soft dish. It also means there's no cleaning out of a food processor required. We've used a clove of garlic in the pesto, but if you're not a fan of raw garlic, leave it out or use half.
Serves 2 - 30 min
Leeks work well with:
cheese – blue cheeses, Cheddar, feta, goat’s cheese, Gruyère, mozzarella, Parmesan and smoked cheeses
cured meat – bacon, ham, pancetta
cream, crème fraîche, sour cream and yoghurt
fish – salmon, white fish, mussels
herbs – chives, chervil, mint, parsley, tarragon and thyme