All About Leeks!

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By The Paula Deen Test Kitchen

Leeks are a great addition to almost any kind of savory preparation, from fish, vegetables, and vinaigrettes to soups, stocks, and stuffings.  Many countries have been using leeks regularly for centuries, but here in the United States, they are often passed over for a more standard member of their onion family.  Leeks’ reliable flavor, durability, and availability (different types can be planted depending on the season according to desired harvest time), are great reasons to integrate them into your repertoire.  There are varieties on the shelves almost year-round, and they offer similar vitamin and nutrient benefits as the rest of the onion family.  Though they might be slightly more costly and less powerful than their mighty yellow onion counterparts, they last a few weeks in the fridge and give subtle aromatic warmth—and pretty color—to a dish.

Here are some of our favorite ways to use leeks:

In soups (the most famous of which is probably potato-leek soup or Vichycoisse):
Lemon Tarragon Chicken Soup
Banana Coconut Soup

With proteins (shrimp and salmon are surefire hits, but they also go great with chicken and short ribs):
Shrimp and Grits
Paper Wrapped Anniversary Salmon

With corn (leeks are fantastic with polenta and other starches, and enhance just about any vegetable):
Cornbread, Leek, and Bacon Pudding
Roasted Cauliflower

And don’t forget, they can be braised as a stand-alone side, blanched and chopped into a salad dressing, or simply sautéed as a topping for meat or a dip, as in Artichoke Dip.

They also taste delicious with eggs and excellent fried, so try a morning omelet or bread them with potatoes for fritters!

Just make sure that you properly clean and trim them—their leaf structure makes it very easy for grit to get trapped between layers, so typically you will need to rinse off surface dirt, trim, and then rinse thoroughly again.  The white base and some of the lighter green parts are eaten, while the dark green tops and roots are trimmed. The edible parts can be halved or cut down before cutting into the shape desired for your recipe. 

Any green trimmings can be reserved to make components of a stock, such as part of a white mirepoix (a common base for a mild vegetable or fish stock) or tied with twine to bundle a fancy, pretty “bouquet garni” full of herbs.  This way, even if you are not directly eating the whole vegetable, you are not wasting it either! 

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Reader Comments:


I would like to know if there are pictures of Paula Deen's kitchen on her show. I just love the decor. The white and black, the brick. Sometime the brick fireplace is exposed some times there is a shelve in its place. I would like to see it all. Thank you

By Leslie Carr on April 11, 2014


always been sorta scared to use these things, along with artichokes - miss you on tv enjoy bobby - not the same with out you - trying the fried chicken this weekend God Bless gg

By gigi cannella on April 02, 2014


Looks greet wil try to make them thanks Bill

By William van Nooy on March 20, 2014


just wanted to say I just love paula deen. and her web site and what she offers us. thank you npaula for being who you are. sincerely Debbie noel.

By debbie noel on March 07, 2014


We love you Paula. You don't need food network. Start your own network." "Southern Cooking Network". You could feature our wonderful heritage of family recipes with vegetables raised here in the south. You could feature resturants all the south that are not cookie cut of some franchise. Just some food for thought. Hope to see you soon, Mary

By Mary Winton on March 04, 2014



By LORIE on February 25, 2014


Paula I hope to see you on the TV cooking show in the future. I was really saddened by what happened to you for a mistake we ALL have made in our life time. You have been forgiven by most all who know you and the good work you do. God Bless you Kathy Staggs

By Kathy Staggs on November 28, 2013


I'd love Paula to do a Potato and Leek soup. I can't find one out there as good as my Dad use to make, and he's forgotten how he made it! I'm sure Ms Deens would be amazing!

By Kirsten on April 29, 2012


Hi Paula, I have enjoyed watching your shows on the Food Network for along time..I even have an autographed copy of your boys book from QVC. I saw a picture of your granddaughter with an apple cake recipe..She looks just like my mother Ruth Ritchie did when she was young. I am an original Mor-Man Pioneer fifth generation from NEW YORK... I have had a bit of a problem my Daddy had TWO WIFES (Jane Lewis and Ruth Ritchie Scheide from Henson /Walker jr and sr) Pleasant Grove, Utah and San Bernardino (court house has nice statue) and I am really not sure about the DNA, mormans switched around peoples with Utah became a state to advide being sent to jail for POLOGMY. I really like your web site... Terry (I am on FACEBOOK as Terry Lowery and my youngest child of five is on as Rhonda Pearsall... we are connect together...connect to us if you want

By Terry on April 23, 2012


I love leeks, onions or garlic in almost everything and also to eat raw!

By Shirley on March 22, 2012


I chop the greens into small pieces, dry it in the oven & use it as a herb garnish on or in salads, baked potatoes, cheese rolls, etc. Adds a wonderful flavor. Holds good flavor for a few months zip locked, several months vac sealed.

By Donna on March 22, 2012

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Paula, I love watching you and your family. I miss seeing your show, I watched you everyday. My son lives in Charleston S.C. He took me to the Lady & Sons to eat. Oh my goodness! People are always telling me that I look just like the cooking lady Paula Deen. I always tell them that you are my hero. May God Bless You Mary Ann
Mary Ann Tharp in A Summer of Burgers on August 15, 2014 at 10:48 pm

Add a few spoonfuls of parmesan cheese to the flour and cornmeal breading and it kicks the tomatoes up another notch. Bev
in Crispy Fried Green Tomatoes on August 15, 2014 at 10:33 am

I just bought Paula's Peach Salad Dressing and wondered if anyone has a good recipe that they use it in?
Melissa in Taste Testing 101 on August 13, 2014 at 8:36 am

Congrats Bobby. Loved the family picture miss you Paula on TV will be watching online. Jack is getting big. Looks like his mom but Matt aka moose has your face. Your eyes cheeks hair even falls to his face like yours except to the left. Good luck on your next venture. You give us other 60+ yr women strength to move on. Keep up the good work.
Carol Bryant in Love at Last on August 11, 2014 at 6:12 pm