Throughout a very long and generally overcast New England wintertime — in particular this 1 with its attendant miseries: pandemic, financial hardships and social unrest, not to mention wildfires, hurricanes and drought — cooking comforting and wholesome foods usually takes on heightened value. But the deeper we go into the months of cold and snowy weather, the far more we depend on generate that has used lengthy hours in transit from hotter climes. It is improved to adhere to the hardier vegetable picks that are developed closer to house: wintertime squashes, potatoes and sweet potatoes, chards and kales, Brussels sprouts, cabbages and that king of alliums, the leek.

During lots of many years of purchasing and cooking, I have shied away from this handsome vegetable, most normally identified tied in bundles of three or four, lying in state amidst other sturdy options like chard and collards, or beets and carrots nonetheless donning their greens. For the reason that they are typically pricey listed here, I reasoned that onions had been a perfectly acceptable substitute and hesitated to toss a bundle of leeks into my purchasing basket, not being aware of what to do with them or how very long they’d retain. Considering the fact that we’ve began growing them ourselves in the very last handful of years, I’ve been utilizing leeks with abandon, tossing them into soups and stews, omelettes and even using a couple finely sliced rings on top rated of salads.

When I very first begun to integrate leeks into recipes, I wished they’d come with a user’s handbook. I overcooked them into mush or remaining intact exterior levels that became inedibly tough when cooked. I typically observed grit however lurked inside stalks I swore had been thoroughly rinsed. For individuals new to applying leeks, here are a handful of hints to support you stay clear of these pitfalls.

1st, when obtaining leeks, look for ones that have as considerably white and light-weight inexperienced as possible and are not yellowed, but crisp and company. They’ll previous for a 7 days or two following you carry them house, but be confident to wrap them in moist paper towels and area them in a plastic bag in your vegetable drawer to continue to keep them from turning out to be slimy and mushy. When ready to use them I reduce off the dark eco-friendly tops and reserve them for inventory. I trim the root finish, then halve the stalk and genuinely swish the slash pieces in water. If you program to slice the stalk into rings, you can also just slice and place the ensuing rings into water and clean and rinse them carefully. Then you are fantastic to go.

A phrase on leeks vs. onions. While they are milder than their allium cousins the onion and garlic, leeks have a quite distinctive flavor — sweeter, nonetheless powerful in their own way. Just a single leek in a pot of stew will be seen. If you enjoy them, that’s a superior detail. But if you prefer a additional balanced flavor, go effortless.

For leek enthusiasts, there is so a great deal additional to do than pair them with potatoes in soup, while potato-leek soup is a common. Here’s a recipe for potato-leek soup that switches it up a little bit, making use of sweet alternatively than white potatoes.

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2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 cups leeks, white and mild eco-friendly components, sliced into 12-inch rounds
2 Tbsp. fresh new ginger, minced
3 garlic cloves, sliced thin
Sea salt and pepper
3 Tbsp. pink curry paste
7 cups peeled and cubed sweet potatoes
4 cups rooster broth
14 oz. can coconut milk
Juice of 1 lime
14 cup cilantro, chopped
12 cup salt-roasted peanuts, roughly chopped

In a huge pot or Dutch oven, sweat leeks, ginger and garlic with 12 teaspoon salt for about a few minutes. Include curry paste and cook, stirring, an extra minute. Insert sweet potatoes, hen broth and salt and pepper to style to the pot, deal with and bring to a gentle boil. Prepare dinner for 20 minutes or so, until eventually potatoes are tender and falling aside. Once potatoes are carried out, use the back again of a spoon to mash up the potatoes to a chunky consistency. Stir in the coconut milk and lime juice and simmer a couple of minutes more time. Serve with cilantro and peanuts sprinkled over the leading.

A different excellent use for leeks? Pizza topping. This recipe calls for mushrooms with the leeks, but really feel free of charge to use olives, either environmentally friendly or black, or blobs of chopped, sautéed winter season greens — or all of the previously mentioned.

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1 all set-to-bake pizza crust
1 lb. cremini (or mixed) mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
2 massive leeks, white and light-weight environmentally friendly parts sliced and rinsed nicely
2 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
4 garlic cloves, minced
12 lb. fresh mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
12 cup Parmesan cheese, coarsely grated
12 cup fresh new basil, sliced
Salt and pepper, to style

Warmth oven to 450 levels. While oven warms, warmth a massive frying pan to medium significant, insert one particular tablespoon olive oil, mushrooms, salt and pepper. Saute mushrooms right up until liquid is removed, about 10 minutes. Then increase leeks and stir once in a while until finally leeks are soft, about a few minutes. Established combination apart. Line a substantial baking sheet with parchment paper. Evenly flour a flat area and, using floured palms, gently flatten dough to a rectangle of about a 50 %-inch in thickness. Place on baking sheet and spread with remaining tablespoon olive oil and minced garlic. Position three quarters of mozzarella slices and a fourth of a cup of Parmesan cheese on prime. Spread with mushrooms and leeks, then leading with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, rotating the baking sheet halfway, till the crust is flippantly browned and cooked via.