The humble leek seems to be a much underrated vegetable, yet it’s one of the few that still thrives in the colder months and features in many a winter recipe. Leeks take centre stage in a chicken and leek pie, leek and potato soup, and are delicious baked in a cheese sauce – a Christmas dinner staple in my family.
Leeks are best cooked slowly to release their sweet flavour, and slow roasting is hands down my favourite way to cook them. Not only is it a light-touch and really simple method, but it is the best way to develop that buttery soft texture whilst also getting areas that start to crisp and char. The slight bitter flavour perfectly matches the sweet, soft parts in the centre. The fact that such a combination of complex, utterly balanced flavours and textures arises from the simplest of cooking processes is nothing short of alchemy to me.
These silky leeks are perfect as an accompaniment to a Sunday roast, lamb chops, even fish, but I love to eat them squished onto a thick piece of crusty homemade sourdough. They don’t need butter of course and it’s makes a deliciously simple midweek meal.
Prepping the leeks is a crucial step to make sure that they are clean. As leeks grow, soil is piled up around the shaft to get that blanched, white stem-like effect, and so soil and grit easily make their way between the leaves.
Slow-Roasted Leeks Recipe
Serves 2 as a light main
- 2 whole leeks
- Olive oil to drizzle
- Sea salt flakes & black pepper to season
- Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C Fan/Gas Mark 6
- Prepare the leeks by cutting off the very top and bottom of each. Slice them in half length-ways and wash thoroughly by fanning the layers under a tap taking care that they don’t fall apart.
- Brush olive oil over the cut side and season with salt and pepper. Place cut side down in a baking tray and cover with foil. Roast in the oven for 1 hour.
- Uncover the leeks and turn them over carefully one by one with tongues or a turner. Replace the cover and continue to roast for a further 30 minutes.
- Serve hot with crusty bread or as an accompaniment to a roast.
Do you have a favourite recipe that uses leeks? Share in the comments!