Leek Newbie…

May 7, 2010

A recipe for a Wild Rice and Leek dish shared the same Food Network Magazine page as the Cauliflower Tabouli – having never cooked with leeks before, I thought I’d give it a try.

I had taken chicken out the night before and whipped up a marinade of olive oil, garlic, shallots, white wine, thyme and misc. seasonings from my spice cabinet. I knew this would be the perfect side, I even thought I could sell the hub on it.

I got advice from several co-workers and friends on how to properly clean a leek. I even watched a few YouTube videos…God, I love the Internet.

First up…

The Ingredients:

Leeks – the recipe called for 1, I used 2 – next time I might even use 3-4
2 tablespoons butter
Hazelnuts – to be used as a topper
Thyme – A few fresh sprigs worked great
Salt and Pepper to taste
Wild Rice – any kind will do – I used some from Trader Joe’s

I’m having  a lot of fun laying out the ingredients – I’m used to running around the kitchen like a mad woman flinging open cabinet doors, the fridge and pantry. Often forgetting to actually close the fridge…hah! I guess there is something to be said about keeping a clean work area/work station if we’re talking Top Chef or Chopped…not quite there yet. 😉

Getting off work right at 5:00 PM also helped. I didn’t feel rushed or flustered…

I got my wild rice on the stove before I took on the task of preparing the leeks.

Leek Cleaning 101

Everyone has a different take on how much of the green you should leave…an inch or two seemed to be the consensus. Most are pretty consistent with the white portion. It seems that lots of people save the green ends for soup stock. Shhh…I chucked them.

I slit the leeks down the center (not going all the way through) and then opened them up under the water. The silky dirt hides in the different layers.  I then started chopping, the recipe called for thin slices.

The next step was to get them into a bowl of cold water for more washing

I gave them a good swirl under the water and then put them into a colander for more rinsing and draining.

I’ve been wanting to get a collapsible colander and salad spinner…does anyone have one? I’ve seen several different Progressive and OXO models at Target and Bed Bath and Beyond.  I’m curious as to how the silicone holds up. I sure could use the extra cabinet space.

I then used  paper towels to pat dry the leeks before putting them into a pan with the butter, thyme sprigs and salt and pepper.

The thyme/butter combo made the entire kitchen smell amazing. I let them cook in the pan for the suggested 8 minutes on a medium to high heat.

I then added 1/2 the leek mixture to the wild rice. I transferred the rice into a serving dish and added the remaining leeks and chopped hazelnuts to get it ready for it’s photo shoot.

Everything came out great. Next time I don’t think I’ll cook the leeks for the entire 8 minutes and I might make the leek slices a tiny bit thicker.

Dan really like the chicken and wild rice combo. I did notice that he wasn’t a fan of the hazelnuts – so next time I might actually tell them that they are in the dish, LOL…or I will sub them out for slivered or sliced almonds, something that isn’t so bulky.

All in all….I give it 2 thumbs up. I will definitely make this dish again. I’m supper excited to try more leek recipes. I love the mild flavor and the green color is so vibrant – I’ve found a million different soup recipes, but I think I will try Alton Brown’s Grilled Braised Leeks next time we fire up the grill – Come on? Bacon and goat cheese? I’m so there!



  1. I’m super excited about this new blog of yours, Kath. If I read about this recipe I don’t think I would try it but how you explained it and took pictures sure makes it look easy and delicious to make! Yum!

    • It is really easy Aim, if Dan liked it, I’m sure your kids would 🙂

  2. Leeks are so fun! I just started using them this year too, I really like the flavor, a little milder than an onion but still with a little zing!

    • I know! I feel like I’ve been missing out for years. There are so many options out there that I’ve just never tried.

  3. I’m enjoying the cooking posts as well. I love your pictures, you do a great job of capturing the process and making it look artistic at the same time!

    I’ve made a broccoli, zucchini, leak soup before that was really good.

    • Thanks Paige – I saw quite a few recipes that combine broc. with leeks, interesting!

  4. Oops I spelled leek wrong.

  5. This is wonderful! Can’t wait to see more like this.

  6. Thanks for demystifying the leek-cleaning process. You’ve inspired me to take another look at the “Magical Leek Soup” recipe that Mireille Guilaino (French Women Don’t Get Fat)uses as a kick-off in her weight-loss program.

    • Magical Leek Soup – intriguing…I’ll have to check that out. Could use a little magic on these thighs 😉

  7. Just discovered your new site! LOVE LOVE LOVE that you’re doing this! Congrats! And lovely photos. 🙂

    • Thank Jen! I’m excited to see your new stuff as well.

  8. Kath I am loving your new site, all the pictures and recipes! Keep them coming!

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