How to Clean and Prepare Leeks

How to Clean and Prepare Leeks

This post is a brief tutorial on how to clean and prepare leeks for cooking. They often have dirt tucked in between the layers and need to be cleaned before adding them to recipes.

I’m going to walk you through how to quickly and easily clean them. Then I will jump into how to prepare and cut them.

Our tomato gnocchi with spinach and leeks is one of my favorite dinner recipes of all time. So you’ve gotta know how to clean them before you can make that heaven sent recipe!

A photo of a womans hands cleaning leeks under a running faucet

How to Clean Leeks

  • Rinse the leeks and remove any visible dirt on the outside.
  • The slice the leek lengthwise about a third of the way into the pale green stem section (see photo).

A photo of a leek sitting on the counter.

  • Then peel back the layers and run them under running water (see next photo).

A photo of a woman's hands cleaning leeks under a running faucet.

  • Slice off the dark green end of the leek. They are very tough and don’t really soften unless you cook them for a long time. I like to use mine to make stock.
  • Slice the root end off the leek.

A photo of two leeks sitting side by side on a wooden cutting board. The top of one of the leeks has been cut off and a knife is laying on the cutting board next to them.

  • Cut the leeks either into rings crosswise or julienne them lengthwise. It really just depends on how you are going to use the leeks. For our tomato gnocchi with leeks recipe, I like to cut them into rings as shown in the photo below.

A photo of all the ingredients for creamy sun dried tomatoe gnocchi all prepped sitting on a wooden cutting board.

  • If you are still seeing dirt when slicing, you can place the sliced pieces of leek into a bowl full of cold water.
  • Massage the leek pieces. This will remove dirt which will settle at the bottom.
  • Scoop the pieces out with your hands or a slotted spoon.

What are Leeks?

Leeks are a vegetable that are in the onion family. They have a more mild flavor thank onions and are slightly sweet. They are grown down in the dirt and should be cleaned before adding to an recipe.

 

Now that you know how to clean and prepare leeks, you can use them all the time in your cooking. It is such an underutilized vegetable in my opinion! They are so yummy!

 

Recipes That Use Leeks

READ: How to Clean and Prepare Leeks

Originally posted at Oh Sweet Basil

Home Cooking during the Stay Home Covid19 Season

Prawn briyani rice cooked on a paella pan. Why not.  
If you have been cooking at home, you will notice that this season is shaping our home-cooking in a new way. Every meal is “full house” as your children are not off gallivanting somewhere else – unless they want to risk a $300 fine, that is. This Covid window may well provide an opportunity for you to create new family traditions.
You will become more conscious of the “waste not, want not” dictum. Leftover from last night’s dinner is today’s lunch. Yes, this is unusual: lunch is also a family meal!! And so, you think ahead. You don’t want the fridge to be chockfull with produce and cooked food at the same time. And so, you don’t want to overstock and overcook.
You learn to cook with what you have. You don’t want to don a mask to go out just to get one more stalk of lemon grass (the recipe specifies 4!). You create “new” recipes, cooking with whatever you have. Sweet, salty, sour, spicy – just balance the flavours and do it your way.  
It is satisfying to see the larder clearing and herbs stocked from months ago finally being used up. Nothing goes to waste and you find interesting uses for your spices and herbs. 
As for ingredients and recipes, here are some tips which you may find useful.
White peppercorns, coriander roots and garlic
Do you know that the roots of coriander leaves are flavourful? They are used widely in some cuisines, ie Thai. In a mortar, pound some coriander roots and stems along with some white pepper and garlic.  This paste can be used for delicious fried rice or as a meat marinade. 
Speaking of fried rice, this is also a good use of leftover rice and cooked food in your fridge. Check my post here on the basics of making delicious fried rice recipes. Actually, just pay attention to flavours and textures in order to create different fried rice dishes for every lunch. 
Claypot Chicken Rice meal
Claypot Rice is fast and easy to make. A one pot meal which is cooked on the stove within 30 minutes and eaten off on your dining table. Simple, neat and delicious. Chicken, pork, beef, fish can be used and green veg can be added in. You can keep your rice plain and unflavoured and cook it only with water. Whatever you then put on top of it during the second stage of cooking will add the flavours. Check the link here for claypot recipes. At times,  I do use the paella pan to cook my rice recipes (see lead photo).
Curries keep well and can be eaten across 2-3 days with rice or bread. There are rumours that turmeric keep the virus at bay. Fake news or not, turmeric is always good to use in curries and the powder works very well if you can’t lay hold on fresh ones. 
My version of egg pancake
Using leftover food or extra pieces of onion, you can always make Egg Frittata. Sounds exotic but it is just cooking whatever you have on a pan and then pouring the beaten eggs on it. It is a thick omelette. Just flip the egg pancake towards the end to cook the top side or put it in a heated oven for 5 minutes. it makes for a decent lunch when served with salads greens and some bread.
And yes, salad greens can go with many dishes. Buy the pre-washed bags for convenience. Dice and garnish your fried rice. Eat on the sides with meat. They keep fresh for a few days in your fridge. 
Picanha beef
Picanha beef with soba noodles
Jap Beef Bowl: onions, corn, beef and rice
On the mention of beef, I find Brazilian Picanha Beef very tasty and easy to cook. This sirloin cap cut is a tender cut and the flavours are deep and beefy. Cut it against the grain and use it for whatever. I have cooked it for my Japanese beef bowls, as steaks served with potatoes and greens and even in my claypot rice. As with all beef dishes, cook the beef separately first on high heat. This beef cooks fast depending on the level of doneness you like. Call Fabio at +65 8189 3489 for deliveries and further instructions on how to cook it. He also serves cooked food and grilled meats (Disclaimer: I do not benefit anything from promoting this).
I will be blogging more in the coming days, including adding a delicious Nonya braised chicken recipe. 
Stay healthy, stay safe and stay tuned. 

Originally posted at Food Canon