Have you ever cooked with leeks? I know there are people out there who avoid using them because they can be a pain to clean. Isn’t that true of any vegetable, though? We live in peanut-country, so ALL our local produce is grown in sandy soil. You learn to clean your veggies properly or chow down on grit. Efficient cleaning begins with good knife skills. Here’s how we julienne leeks.
First, cut the tough greens from the white parts — a little light green is perfectly acceptable.
Cut straight down the center through the root end. The easiest way to do this is by putting your knife point just below the root “knob” and dragging it toward you, splitting the leek into some cute pants.
Place the flat side down on your cutting board with the root end farthest from you (the leek should be vertical). Using the point of your knife, cut into the leek just below the root knob again and draw it toward you. Repeat this until you have made 3-5 vertical cuts (depending on the size of the leek and how wide you want your strips). You can then fan out the strips and hold the leek by the root end to swish in a bowl of cold water to dislodge any particles.
Once the leek strips are clean, you can slice off the root holding them together. Voila!
So why would I show you this? So we can make Mock-a-Leekie soup!
- whites of 2 leeks, cleaned and julienned
- 1/2 – 3/4 C diced carrot
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 large potatoes, peeled and cubed
- 1/4 C dry pearled barley
- 2 T minced dried prunes
- 1 -2 qts mock chicken stock
- salt and pepper to taste
To a large soup pot on medium-high heat, add leeks, carrot, garlic, potatoes, barley, and prunes. Cook, stirring continuously for 2-5 minutes, until fragrant and leeks start to soften. Add 1 quart stock and lower heat to a simmer simmer. Cook at least 30 minutes, or until vegetables are tender and barley is cooked. Add more stock as necessary or desired to reach desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper before serving.