Our leek crop this year is looking very nice, in spite of the fact that leek moths showed up for the first time in the late summer. One day they were looking magnificent, and the next they started to look chewed, wilted, and tatty. Mr. Ferdzy dumped impressive quantities of diatomaceous earth over them a couple of times and they perked right up. It was impressive.
You want the biggest, fattest leeks you can get for this, and it would not hurt to have some extras and save the trimmings for some other use. Two will be sufficient, but it will be harder to get the perfect part of the leeks.
The trouble is that the closer to the outside of the leek, the tougher and stringier the leaves will be. But once you get too far in, the leaves become too small to roll. And even with careful selection of the leaves, it will be best to provide a pretty sharp knife when you serve them. This may explain why stuffed leeks are not a very common thing. They were really tasty though, and the filling was delicious. Ground turkey can be a bit dry but all the vegetables mixed into it kept it moist and gave it lots of flavour.
4 to 8 servings
1 hour 45 minutes – 45 minutes prep time
Prepare the Vegetables:
2 to 4 large, fat leeks
6 cloves of garlic
1 large carrot, grated
125 grams (1/4 pound) button mushrooms
1 tablespoon mild vegetable oil
Put a large pot of water on to boil Wash the leeks, trim off the root ends, and from the point where the leaves begin to branch off and turn dark green. Cut them into 4″ or 5″ pieces. Boil them for 10 minutes, then carefully remove them to a strainer and rinse in cold water until cool. Drain well.
Meanwhile, peel and mince the garlic. Peel and grate the carrot. Clean and chop the mushrooms fairly finely.
Heat the oil in a medium skillet and cook the carrot and mushrooms over medium heat, stirring regularly, until softened and reduced in volume. Add the garlic and mix it in well. Cook for a minute longer then transfer the vegetables to a large mixing bowl and let cool.
Cut each leek lengthwise, with a very sharp knife, about 1/3 of the way through. Peel off the outer layers that are big enough to roll up. Once you get to the leaves that are too skinny to be rollable, set them aside. You need enough of the wide leek leaf rectangles to roll them up into 12 tubes, in sets of 2 or 3 leaves. Chop the leftover leek leaves up very finely and add them to the cooked vegetables in the mixing bowl.
Mix the Filling:
1 1/2 cups fine dry bread crumbs
500 grams (1 generous pound) lean ground turkey
1 large egg
1 teaspoon rubbed savory
1 teaspoon sweet Hungarian paprika
1 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste
Make and measure the crumbs, and add them to the mixing bowl. Add the ground turkey, egg, and seasonings. Mix well. I find this sort of mixture easiest to mix with my hands.
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Take a set of prepared leek leaf rectangles, and place 1/2th of the filling, rolled into a tube shape, on it. Roll it up to re-form the shape of the leek. Place the stuffed leek section in a lightly-oiled shallow baking pan which will hold the 12 of them snugly. (I used an 8″ x 10″ lasagne pan.)
Repeat with the remaining 11 sets of leek leaves and filling.
Bake the Leek Rolls:
1/4 cup chicken stock
75 grams shiitake mushrooms
1 tablespoon mild vegetable oil
1/4 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon corn starch or arrowroot
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Pour the chicken stock over the pan of stuffed leeks and bake at 350°F for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, remove and discard the stems from the shiitakes, and cut them into strips. Sauté them gently in the oil. If they look like they want to dry out or scorch rather than sauté, drizzle a little water over them to help them cook.
When the leeks have baked for 30 minutes, spread the shiitakes over them. Mix the starch into the sour cream and dribble it over the leeks and mushrooms. Sprinkle the Parmesan evenly over the top and return the leeks to the oven for another 30 minutes. Let rest for 5 minutes before serving.
Last year at this time I made Cranberry Meringue Pie. I suppose I should say that I made it again as written, and it worked perfectly!