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

tearingmonkey Oct 21, 2010 11:30 AM

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. Monica RE: tearingmonkey Oct 21, 2010 11:34 AM

    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
      Will Owen RE: Monica Oct 22, 2010 05:11 PM

      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
        tearingmonkey RE: Will Owen Oct 23, 2010 09:19 AM

        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

    2. bushwickgirl RE: tearingmonkey Oct 21, 2010 12:49 PM

      Absolutely, it's their purpose in life.

      1 Reply
      1. re: bushwickgirl
        hill food RE: bushwickgirl Oct 22, 2010 05:17 PM

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

      2. k
        Krislady RE: tearingmonkey Oct 21, 2010 01:31 PM

        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. h
          Harters RE: tearingmonkey Oct 21, 2010 01:47 PM

          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. e
            Erika L RE: tearingmonkey Oct 21, 2010 05:45 PM

            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.

            4 Replies
            1. re: Erika L
              sunshine842 RE: Erika L Oct 21, 2010 10:26 PM

              Yep, me too. Nowadays I'm torn...do 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
                downtownfoodie RE: sunshine842 Oct 21, 2010 10:31 PM

                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
                  bushwickgirl RE: downtownfoodie Oct 22, 2010 11:08 AM

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

                2. re: sunshine842
                  Krislady RE: sunshine842 Oct 22, 2010 02:47 AM

                  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.

              2. coll RE: tearingmonkey Oct 22, 2010 11:58 AM

                I once made stock out of just leeks and it was way too strong for most applications. I can see adding a little to other vegetables though.

                1. wolfe RE: tearingmonkey Oct 23, 2010 09:59 AM

                  I use virtually the entire leek. I feed them into my trusty Hobart with the 5/32 blade after trimming the grody parts. Used for soups and stews.

                  1. s
                    smartie RE: tearingmonkey Oct 23, 2010 10:10 AM

                    it's never occurred to me to NOT use the dark green parts of leek. They are dirtier but need extra scrubbing sometimes. I cut half an inch from the top and obviously the roots off and use the lot.

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