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Friday, October 5, 2012

Delicately-flavored leeks in season

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The rich history of leeks possibly started in Central Asia where it was thought to have originated, although leeks have been grown and harvested in Europe for thousands of years.

The richness and depth of this vegetable had been strongly appreciated by both the ancient Greeks and Romans for they believed it had healing capabilities for the throat. One known fact regarding its healing powers came from the famous Greek philosopher Aristotle who believed that the partridge had such a clear voice due to its diet of leeks and the Roman emperor Nero allegedly ate leeks in order to make his voice loud and strong.

Later it was believed that the Romans introduced leeks to the United Kingdom and because this vegetable grows well in cold climate, it was a big hit! But, did you know that leeks are the country of Wales national emblem? So much history....

About the nutritional value contained in leeks? Amazing. Like garlic and onions, leeks are a health-promoting vegetable that contain valuable amounts of vitamin K, vitamin A, manganese, vitamin C, folate, iron, fiber and so much more!

Recipes that use leeks as one of their main ingredients is a given. Although I do use leeks quite a bit in stews and even stir fry's, I use leeks when making soup. A classic one that I make is from the Epicurious website called Potato, Leek and Fennel soup. In making this soup, I use homemade chicken stock and when the soup is done and ready to serve, I add a dash of Nutmeg which gives it more depth and flavor.  I also add some chopped chives and a small amount of crushed bacon for added flavor. In the Joy of Cooking, there is a recipe called Smooth Potato Leek Soup that uses similar ingredients.

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