Leeks like garlic, onions, shallots and scallions are part of the allium family. They look a lot like a large scallion but they are much milder. So, leeks work well in just about anything that you’re looking for a mellow onion flavor such as salads, sandwiches, omelets, stews and soups. Leeks also offer some great health benefits.
Consuming vegetables from allium family such as leeks has been shown to be protective again several types of cancer. This is due to their sulfur containing component, Allicin and its’ ability to fight dangerous free radicals in the body. Leeks also contain flavonols, similar to the cruciferous vegetables broccoli, kale and cabbage that have been shown to reduce your chances of developing chronic illnesses such as heart disease and diabetes.
Leeks are at their best during the spring season but available year round at most grocery stores. To clean them, start by cutting off the tough, dark green portion of the leek. Next, put the bulb and light green section into a large bowl of water to loosen any sand or grit within the bulb and stem. I also like to cut them horizontally to make sure they are cleaned well.
One of the biggest reasons that leeks make their way into my grocery cart often is that I get to enjoy their “onion like” flavor without as much of that “onion breath” side effect while at the same time reaping all of the health benefits they provide.
POTATO LEEK SOUP
- 2 bunches leeks, about 8 (dark green stems removed)
- 4 russet potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes
- 1 T flour
- 1 T olive oil
- 4 cups chicken stock (or vegetable broth)
- ½ cup low-fat milk
- Salt & pepper
- Wash leeks then coarsely chop them.
- In a large pot, heat olive oil and add flour, stir for approximately 1 minute.
- Add chicken stock, leeks, potatoes and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer on low for about 30 minutes.
- Using an immersion blender, blend the soup until smooth. If you don’t have an immersion blender or you prefer a soup with a chunkier texture, a hand mixer or manual potato masher can work as well.
- Adjust salt & pepper to taste. Serve.