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Oct 21, 2010 11:30 AM

Dark green tops of leeks- Can they be used in stock?

I have leeks from my garden which I'm eating in a multitude of ways, but I wondered if I can use the top darker portion of the leaves in stock? I always read recipes for the white and light green parts only. Since I grew the little critters I'd love to use all parts.

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  1. Ina Garten once said, I save the green part of leeks for stocks.
    They don't have great texture as you know so only the white parts are edible but for green parts, you can def use them for stock.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Monica

      It's not true that the green part is inedible - I've had leek greens in several Chinese dishes. They do need to be braised, and the flavor is quite strong. There's a northern Chinese street-food noodle dish I love that uses chopped leeks and pork or beef, just that on thick noodles with its own made gravy. Very hearty. I wish I had someplace a bit less tropical than L.A. County to eat it in!

      1. re: Will Owen

        This sounds great, I have about 30-40 leeks growing in the garden and didn't think of any use beyond stock. I love hearty, easy dishes and add in noodles i'm dug in, maybe with black bean paste as well to add a hit of spice.
        Now I'm thinking some dutch oven dish might also work to help with breaking down the tougher leek tops with the braising you mentioned. Maybe chicken, leek tops, potatoes, thyme hmmm .. THANKS for getting my brain working

      1. re: bushwickgirl

        I like that approach, maybe a stock base is my purpose...

      2. I use my kitchen shears to cut them into 1-2-inch pieces and cram 'em in a ziploc bag in the freezer until I'm ready to make stock - I find it easier to strain than the long leaves that tangle around everything.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Krislady

          I do the same! Dark green leek segments make great stock. I also freeze parsley stems. They are rather bitter, so don't add them at first.

        2. As you say, the white and light green parts are fine in normal cooking. And that's most of most leeks. You can pretty much see where the tough green bit starts - normally where the plant starts to branch out, so to speak. You can use this bit in normal dishes as well - but it needs very fine chopping. Or it's fine for stock.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Harters

            I've been going to a farmstand that has exceptionally affordable leeks so I've been using them a lot this summer. I use everything. I slice the dark green crosswise, a half-inch or smaller, and sautee it slowly over low-ish heat. Then I use it when making braised greens or creamed spinach. I've also used it mixed with mustard to top firm-fleshed fish before broiling.
            I've even put an inch of remaining white with its roots into water. It grows more usable green for a few weeks - just today stuck what's left of the rooted bottom into the ground but without much optimism, as I am black-thumbed.

          2. Yes, but be sure to wash out all the sand and dirt. I find bigger clods in the green tops than in the white bases. I, too, keep a plastic bag in the freezer for green leek tops, polar ends of onions, carrot scrapings, broccoli trunks, etc.

            5 Replies
            1. re: Erika L

              Yep, me too. Nowadays I'm I make stock with all that stuff, or go feed my compost bin? (as long as I make vegetable-only stock, I could do both...chicken stock means it goes in the trash)

              1. re: sunshine842

                you can also use them for a bouquet garni. fill it with various herbs and tie with a piece of string, or the stem of a woody herb like rosemary and you're good to go.

                1. re: downtownfoodie

                  Yup, a leek top makes a great little package for the bouquet garni, no cheesecloth needed.

                2. re: sunshine842

                  I kind of do both - if I'm cleaning a bunch of leeks, or chopping a lot of onions or carrots or celery, it goes in the freezer for stock, but if it's just a single onion or carrot, it's kind of an extra effort to dig the stock bucket out of the freezer, so into the compost it goes.

                3. re: Erika L

                  Have you tried peeling, then using, the "trunks"? IMO they are the tastiest part, as is the core of the cauliflower. The green "marrow" of a stalk of Brussels sprouts is similar to a combination of the two, but very creamy in texture after the stalk is steamed. It's very woody so you can't get at the interior until cooking softens the "bark" enough that you can cut through it.