okay, perfect #19: using 'the dark green' parts of leeks
don't toss them! Use them! And a Leek Infused Cream of Celeriac Soup
Pssssst….Have you finished Season One of La Pitchoune: Cooking in France yet? If not, whatcha waiting for? You can watch it on HBOMax, Discovery+, and the Magnolia App.
When you’re looking at recipes that use leeks so many of them include the instructions to ‘only use the light green and white parts of the leeks and discard the dark green parts’.
This isn’t uncommon, mostly because the dark green parts of leeks are highly fibrous. But! That doesn’t mean that they aren’t full of flavor, nor that they don’t have a usage! THEY DO! With a long cook time, even the dark green parts they will soften up and will work marvelously in a potato leek soup (I have a scrappy potato leek in my upcoming cookbook. Which I will not share yet because I love the recipe oh so much, and some things need to be a surprise). They are also great as a side dish (a lot of butter, a long low and slow cook, and a hit of salt, chili flake, and lemon juice does the trick). That pesky ‘too discard’ part of a leek is also magical for stock, because they are full of leek/allium flavor and the fibrousness has no impact on a stock due to it’s long cook-time and straining at the end.
You can also use it to make a richly green leek oil. If you’re counting ways, we’re already at four.
But my favorite way to use the dark green parts rounding out at number 5? Infusing into creams.
Simply take your cream and your leeks, and give them a good ol’ fashioned scald. Cover and leave for an hour or two. That’s it. You’ve just made liquid green gold. It will be a mellowed version of an allium (think of it kind of like macerating the leeks in a weak acid for a long time). The fat and acid from the cream rounds out the leek flavor nicely, and mellows it right at the same time.
This week’s post and recipe is for everyone. Because I could not, would not gatekeep this technique or this recipe. I *should*, but I’m not going to. AND anyone can comment, too. I will turn this back to ‘paid’ on Monday. So if you want to keep reading my weekly posts (allllll of them) make sure to subscribe)
AND! OH LOOK! A download of the recipe! (I have a super exciting collaboration coming with the newsletter and downloads. But for now, accept this PDF as my EXCITEMENT CANNOT BE CONTAINED)
Leek Infused Cream of Celeriac Soup
Serves 3-4 people
This recipe uses Tart Celery Vinegar, which is a cult favorite and sells out practically instantly anytime Chris puts any available on their site. There is a good reason for this, it is absolutely out-freaking-standing vinegar.
Mise en Place:
Drum Sieve or other sieve
Left over leek bits (or just leeks if you have them around and need to use them), about 1/2 lb
1 pint cream
1 lb celeriac
1 pint stock or broth
Two splashes Tart Celery Vinegar (or other light vinegar)
Optional, chili flake of choice
Chop your leek into 2 inch or so pieces, and place into the saucepan. Cover with the cream. Turn on a medium-high heat and bring to just before a boil. Cover and let sit for at least one hour.
Pre-heat oven to 400°F.
Prep your celeriac by giving it a good peel, and removing all the ‘knobby dirty bits’ from the honker.
Chop it into large-ish pieces (a few inches long/wide is just fine). I cut my 1 1/2 pound celeriac into about 8 pieces.
Spread on the baking sheet, and top with a few dashes of olive oil, and a smattering (about a 1/2 teaspoon) of salt.
Pop into the oven until the pieces soften, round about 20 minutes.
You have two choices now: Blend everything (celeriac, cream, stock, a pinch of salt, and leeks) together. This will make the soup beautiful and green. But also comes with the added step of needing to ‘pass it’ through a drum sieve to get it smoothed on out. This will remove the fibrousness of the leeks.
Once blended simply take a large mixing bowl, and put the drum sieve over it. Pour the mixture into the sieve, and push the mixture through the sieve with a spatula or bench scraper.
Take the ‘passed soup’ and stir in the vinegar. Taste. Add additional salt, and stock if you’d like to ‘thin it out’.
Remove the leeks and blend just the cream, stock, a pinch of salt, and the celeriac together. Once smooth, add in the vinegar and blend again. If it’s a bit too thick for your liking, add a tablespoon of stock at a time and keep blending.
Serve with a drizzle of high quality olive oil (I’m currently obsessed with this Graza olive oil), a crack or two of pepper, and a pinch of flaky salt.
IF you went with the passing method, a swirl of about a 1/2 teaspoon of cream on each is beautiful.
Thank you so much for this! I love to cook with leeks and always just hate throwing away the dark parts. Can’t wait to try your suggestions! ☺️