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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

First Day of Summer - Eat the Leeks!

Leeks
The problem with me in the garden is I very often grow something, use some of it and leave the rest neglected.  I keep looking at it thinking I must make something with the rest of that but weeks pass and I don't.  That's what happened with my leeks.  I picked the fat ones ages ago and made soup and leek fritters and then left the little ones to fatten up.  Well I think they're as fat as they're going to get.  In fact some of them have started to bolt.  I was wondering if I'd wait and and collect the seeds but really it is time to use them.  The patch where they are is soon be converted to a chicken run and I have purchased two of those skinny ballerina apple trees to squeeze in there either side of the fig tree.  So, given that today is the first day of Summer they'd best be gone.  No-one wants to eat leek and potato soup in Summer. Yesterday I picked them all and made this leek and mushroom risotto.   My leeks were a bit of a miserable bunch.  I didn't hill them up enough and by the time I chopped off the green there wasn't much white to actually use.  But that's OK.  I'll still grow them again.  I keep learning tricks with each thing I grow each year.

I also could not resist pulling up a couple of my garlics to see what was happening.  This is the first time I've grown it and I'm really excited.  You are supposed to wait until the leaves have yellowed and are starting to become brown.  Well mine aren't quite there yet - too small.  But they didn't go to waste.  I chopped an entire bulb up and popped it into the risotto too.  Young garlic isn't as strong as the matured dried type but is good.  

Leek & Mushroom Risotto
•  1.5 cups aborio rice
•  2-3 leeks, chopped
•  1/2 glass white wine
•  1 ltr vegetable stock
•  6-8 mushrooms, chopped
•  2 tbs butter
•  1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
•  1 tbs chives, chopped

In a large saucepan, cook the leeks slowly in 1 tbs butter until golden.  Heat the stock in a small saucepan and allow to simmer.  When leeks are cooked, add the rice and stir until coated.  Add the wine and stir.  Add a ladle full of vegetable stock at a time, stirring frequently.  Keep adding stock as the rice comes away from the edges of the pan and it is absorbed.  Continue until the rice is cooked.  In a separate pan cook the mushrooms in 1 tbs of butter.  Stir the mushroom mixture, chives and parmesan cheese through the rice when it is cooked and allow to sit for 10 minutes before serving. 

7 comments:

  1. I love seeing people experimenting with new veggies to grow (it's one of my favorite things to do!) and you seem to have had lots of success with your leek harvest. Congratulations on not being intimidated by skinnier, bolting leeks and making what looks like a fabulous risotto out of them! Yum! Love the photos, too!

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  2. I think your leeks look great, I've not had any success with mine... did you start yours from seed?

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  3. Oh my...I LOVE leek and mushroom risotto! I make one here with dried porcini mushrooms. What a fabulous use of your leeks. Mmmm...yum!

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  4. Yep Curbstone Valley Farm and Appalachian Feet the risotto tasted good and even the fussiest little monkey ate lots. I must try dried porcini mushrooms - I've tried cooking with dried mushrooms once or twice but wasn't a fan. Not sure what type they were though. Ali, I got the leeks as seedlings but will try next year from seed I think. They might look good in the photo but they weren't that good in real life truly! They were skinny and there was hardly any of them so I had to use lots to get the equivalent to a couple of leeks for the recipe.

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  5. What a coincidance we also harvested leeks that is about the bolt on this 1st day of December. I found that leek seedlings bolted faster than sown from seeds (We grow both of them).

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  6. I didn't hill mine and they are 90% green but that doesn't really bother me, I pick them when they're small and use them as onions. That risotto looks pretty good though, I might try that tomorrow. Thanks

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  7. that risotto looks yum! i love leeks. i gladly replace leeks with onion for any old recipe. i'd love to plant some this year. I tried in pots but failed as there just wasn't enough room or depth. xo m.

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