Leeks are in this Easter

If you plan on entertaining during the Easter holiday then consider treating your taste buds by preparing recipes that are simply titillating from British Leeks. Easter ingredients have never tasted better then when complemented with braised mutton in leek and mint sauce or vegetable terrine that features the smooth easy flavour of leeks.

Try out these three, easy to prepare, classic leeks recipes below for all the family this Easter or visit the British Leek website www.british-leeks.co.uk for seasonal British Leek recipes for every occasion.

The British Leek Grower’s Association advises people to look for leeks with a firm, unblemished white lower part with bright green leaves and a crisp texture. Smaller leeks tend to be sweeter and more tender. Like all vegetables, leeks should be washed thoroughly to ensure all grit is removed.

Leek Braised Mutton with Creamy Leek and Mint Sauce

Gentle braising with leeks, aromatic cinnamon, cloves and orange gives full flavoured tender meat – use the juices for the accompanying leek sauce.

Serves 8

Prep 30 minutes

Cook 4 hours

Ingredients:

2 leeks, trimmed and cut into 4 rounds; 1 orange, quartered; 2 sprigs rosemary; 1 cinnamon stick; 1 carrot, halved; sprinkling sea salt and ground black pepper; 300 ml/1/2 pt braising juices, skimmed of fat; 1 ltr/1 /4 pt full cream milk; 75g/3oz butter; 75g/3oz plain flour; 8 fresh mint leaves, roughly chopped; sprinking sea salt and ground black pepper.

Method:

Make 20 regular spaced small slits in the skin of the mutton and insert cloves. Weigh joint and calculate cooking time at 90 minutes per kilo. Place mutton in a deep roasting pan and surround with all braising ingredients and pour boiling water to come half way up the side of the meat. Tuck a piece of wetted baking parchment over the meat and braising ingredients and cover with foil. Oven braise, adding more water if required. Once cooked, remove from oven and save 300ml /1/2 pt of the juices for the sauce skimming off fat before measuring the liquid. Allow the meat to rest for 30 minutes before carving into thin slices. Meanwhile prepare the sauce. Simmer the prepared leeks for 3-4 minutes until just tender. Drain. Melt the butter and stir in the flour. Gradually add the reserved braising juices and milk stirring continuously over a gentle heat until the sauce is simmering. Season and add the mint and leeks. Pour the sauce over the carved mutton slices and accompany with crispy roast potatoes, carrots and braised red cabbage.

Leek and Watercress Layered Vegetable Terrine

Serves 6

Prep 60 minutes

Ingredients:

1 x 15ml tbsp light and mild olive oil; 25g butter; 2 oranges grated zest and juice; 4 cloves; 300g tender young leeks, finely chopped; 75g watercress, stems removed and roughly chopped; 5 sheets of leaf gelatine; generous sprinkling ground black pepper; 150g reduced fat creme fraiche; 1 medium red pepper, seeds removed and quartered; 1 x 5ml tsp olive oil; 200ml tomato juice; 200ml tomato juice; pinch chilli pepper; 4 sheets of leaf gelatine.

Method:

Lightly saute the leeks with the oil and butter, orange zest and cloves to soften. Reserve 4 x 15ml of the orange juice and add remainder to the pan along with the watercress. Cook briefly until the watercress has wilted. Season well and remove the cloves. Meanwhile cut and sak the gelatine leaves with the reserved orange juice and follow pack instructions to melt. Whiz leek and watercress mixture with the melted gelatine and creme fraiche until smooth. Spoon between six mini Hovis style sins or individual ramekins lined with cling film. Chill until set. Meanwhile prepare tomato layer. Preheat oven to 220 degrees/gas mark 7 and roast the red pepper drizzled with the oil until soft. Peel away skin. Cut and soak the gelatine leaves with 4 x 15ml of tomato juice and melt as above. Combine with the remaining tomato juice, roasted pepper and seasonings. Whiz until smooth and pour over the set leek layer. Chill terrines until set. Turn out onto individual plates and peel away cling film just before serving.

Leek and Potato Rosti with Monkfish Kebab

Perfect for entertaining, the rosti mix can be made in advance, chilled and then cooked to order. Likewise prepare the kebabs and leave in the marinade for up to 24 hours before cooking.

Serves 4

Prep 20 minutes

Cook 15-20 minutes

Ingredients:

750g old potatoes such as Maris Piper, peeled and coarsely grated; 450g leeks, trimmed and finely shredded in food processor; clove garlic, crushed; 40g butter; 1 medium egg; sprinkling ground sea salt and black pepper; 1 tbsp light and mild olive oil for frying; 8 sticks of lemon grass; 500g monkfish tail, skinned and bone removed; 2 red peppers, cut into pieces; 8 bay leaves; 2 lemons, grated zest and juice; 1 tbsp light and mild olive oil.

Method:

Pat grated potato with kitchen paper to remove excess moisture. Microwave for five minutes with the butter in a covered bowl. Add the shredded leek and garlic and cook for a further three minutes. Season well and bind together with the egg. Chill until ready to cook. Meanwhile prepare the kebabs. Cut the monkfish into large cubes and thread onto the lemon grass skewers along with the bay leaf and red pepper. Place in a container and drizzle with the lemon juice and olive oil. Cover and chill until ready to cook. To cook rosti shape into 8 x 8cm rounds using a pastry cutter and shallow fry over a very gentle heat for ten minutes on each side until crisp and golden turning carefully with a fish slice. Grill marinated kebabs for 6-8 minutes under a hot grill turning half way through cooking. Serve kebabs on top of the rosti along with a mixed leaf salad.