By Elaine Lemm
The leek is such a versatile vegetable, add to almost any savoury dish and it will enhance the flavour as a background or support act such as in a stew, soup or stock. Or, its bold, onion-like flavour can stand forward as the main ingredient as in the leek recipes below.
Leeks are also the national emblem of Wales and so on St David's Day - March 1st - leeks will feature strongly on the menu. All these recipes are perfect for St David's Day but too good to eat only once a year!
A great alternative to leek and potato, this is a delicious thick soup with a real punch of Stilton. A great way to beat the winter blues. Just serve simply with fresh, granary bread.
Smoked Haddock Chowder is based on the famous dish of Cullen Skink a hearty soup and traditionally made with Finnan haddock (smoked haddock), potatoes and onions. The version has added vegetables of leeks, carrots, spinach and sweet corn, making it hearty, quite healthy and filling; so filling it can be a meal in itself.
Cock a Leekie Soup is a rustic dish hailing from Scotland which goes back as far as the 16th century. There are many regional variations with some cooks adding chopped grilled bacon, some use beef stock, some add Jamaican pepper and many suggest offering stewed prunes with the finished dish.
A variation on the classic recipe Welsh Rarebit recipe brings this traditional favourite bang up to date. Welsh goats’ cheese comes in a variety of guises. Choose a mild, creamy one without a crust so it will easily melt into the sauce. Alternatively use Y Fenni cheese which contains mustard seed and ale.
Soufflé is considered a very sophisticated dish, yet soufflé recipes are actually quite easy and simple to prepare. Soufflé recipes can be sweet or savory and one of my favorite savory souffle's is a Cheese and Leek Soufflé.
There is something so comforting about a traditional British chicken pie with memories of school days and family lunches. Like it's close cousin a Steak and Kidney Pie, British Chicken Pie is part of the fabric of British food.
Leeks are the national emblem of Wales and a great Welsh dish to celebrate the vegetable is a Chicken, Leek, Prune and Caerphilly Cheese Pie. This pie recipe brings together the leek and delicious Welsh Caerphilly cheese with the addition of prunes for sweetness.
Cawl is the national dish of Wales. Welsh Cawl is a stew and made from bacon, Welsh lamb or beef, cabbage and leeks though Welsh recipes for Cawl vary from region to region and sometimes even season to season.
Cawl can be eaten in one bowl, though often the broth will be served first followed by the meat and vegetables.
Beef, leeks and mushrooms, what a great combination for a warm and comforting winter stew. For this recipe I use a chunk of tender rump steak but you can use any beef from rump to stewing beef as this is a long, slow-cooked recipe, so well suited to less tender cuts.
I like to serve this with fluffy mashed potatoes and any fresh green vegetables, especially green peas.
This delicious and hearty oxtail stew reminds me of my childhood when it was a popular dish for dinner. The bits and bobs of animals, like tails and trotters, fell out of favour but am so glad to say though that they are now back. Their new-found popularity has come about as awareness for not wasting food by throwing nutritious cuts like this away and because they are still relatively cheap.