It’s the leek’s time to shine! Well actually they have quite a lot of time in the spotlight. They are a very valuable veg in these climes, when little else is around leeks are there to bring us beautiful flavour and nutrients in these dark months.
We love leeks for their versatility in the kitchen including soups, stews, quiche, raw in salads, mixed into mash, risotto and the gratin recipe below. But there are also a couple of other reasons to love leeks. Leeks are a bone health super veggie. They contain high levels of Manganese (this is an essential mineral, not to be confused with the Japanese comic craze Manga!) and Vitamin K. Vitamin K is essential in allowing the blood to coagulate or clot. This prevents uncontrolled bleeding (phew). It is also helpful in the function and health of bones through supporting the binding of calcium, helping to prevent osteoporosis. Add this to the high levels of Manganese in leeks and you are really looking after bone health. Manganese both helps the absorption of calcium and the creation of enzymes which build bones. You can get 23% of your recommended daily allowance of Manganese in 100g of our lovely leeks.
We’ve left the ‘flag’ of the leeks on, this is where a lot of the goodness of your lees is so go on be bold and use as much of that green as you can!
We like this gratin recipe for its simplicity and warming, cosy feel at this time of year. Give it a go with our squash, leeks, garlic and thyme. This recipe serves 2
Squash – butternut, baby blue, or sweet dumpling it doesn’t matter
Some potatoes potentially if you have a small squash
2-3 cloves garlic
Feta or soft cheese
Bread crumbs (some sunflower seeds or chopped nuts is nice in here too if you have them)
Cut the squash into slices and roast in some oil for 20 or so minutes. If you are cooking for more folk you could steam some slices of potato as well as the squash to bulk up.
Meanwhile chop up the leeks (including lots of the green!), sauté in the butter for a few minutes until soft. Add the garlic and thyme (we like to use lots of this lovely herb so maybe use all or most of the bunch)
When the squash is done peel the skin off carefully as it’s hot of course.
Layer half the squash then half the leeks and then some cheese and then repeat using up all your veg. Top it with some bread crumbs and salt and pepper and bake for 20 minutes on a high heat then grill for 5-10 to serve. Serve up with some steamed greens or carrots and enjoy!