My grandmother’s favorite soup is homemade leek and potato. Until a few years ago, I had no idea how to cook leeks or really what these vegetables even were. But I sure liked that soup! While browsing a new cookbook recently, I stumbled upon a leek soup recipe that I simply had to try.
Learning About Leeks
Camilla V. Saulsbury, PhD—a fitness trainer with a background in sociology, health and medicine, and American foodways—says leeks are packed with vitamins and minerals. You can find a whole host of vitamins in this humble green vegetable from the alliaceae family—include vitamins A, C, B6, E, and K. Leeks are also a great source of manganese, copper, iron, folate, dietary fiber, magnesium, calcium, and omega-3 fatty acids.
“Most notably, (leeks) contain sulfur compounds that convert to allicin. A large body of research indicates that allicin reduces cholesterol production and has a range of beneficial antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal effects when eaten in moderate quantities. Additionally, research suggests that allicin reduces blood vessel stiffness which helps decrease an overall risk of coronary artery disease and stroke,” Saulsbury explained.
How to Cook Leeks
Leeks can be enjoyed raw in salads or used in lieu of onion in stews and grain pilafs. Saulsbury suggests adding leeks to your breakfast routine. “Their mild flavor works beautifully in egg dishes, too, such as quiche, frittatas, omelets, and egg scrambles,” she explains. “You can also braise or roast whole leeks (tough portions removed) as a side dish that can be served hot, warm, or room temperature; when prepared this way they become very tender and sweet.”
And then there’s leek soup. In Saulsbury’s Bob’s Red Mill Everyday Gluten-Free Cookbook, you’ll find the recipe for Scottish leek and steel-cut oats soup. With her permission, I’ve included the recipe here with a few extra notes and snapshots from my kitchen to help you make this easy recipe at home.
Scottish Leek and Steel-Cut Oats Soup
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 1/2 cups thinly sliced and halved leeks (white and pale green parts only)
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 cup certified gluten-free steel-cut oats
- 1 cups ready-to-use gluten-free chicken or vegetable broth
- 1 1/2 cups milk or plain non-dairy milk
- 1 tablespoon minced, fresh chives (optional)
- Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Wash, remove the tops, and thinly slice the leeks.In a large saucepan melt butter over medium heat. Add the sliced leeks and cook stirring for 12 to 15 minutes or until soft, but not brown. For this step, I turn the heat down to low partway though because too much heat seems makes the leeks caramelize.
Add the nutmeg and stir for 30 more seconds before pouring in the broth, followed by the oats. Bring the mixture to a boil and reduce to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Cover the soup and let it simmer for 45-50 minutes until it’s creamy and tender.
So, do you have a favorite leek recipe? Tell us in the comments below how you like to add this understated green veggie to your menus.
Image sources: Angela Tague
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