Monday, October 15, 2007

Pumpkin Soup and Leeks

Pumpkins are in full season, so I canned pumpkin soup today. I can enough of it that I can serve it at a few dinner parties during the winter. My favorite way to serve it is with grilled scallops. I also like to bring it to a simmer and add mussels and steaming them in the soup on occasion.

Leeks are back in season too and they will remain in season until late winter or early spring. They are a vegetable that I don't think we eat enough of and are an excellent substitute for onions in many, many recipes. I substitute them for onions in stuffing and sauces as they produce such nice color and texture. Because they have a lot of dirt in them, I recommend cutting off any wilted darker green, slicing them lengthwise and then crosswise. They can then be easily washed in a salad spinner, but be careful not to overload the spinner as it won't remove all the water due to their heaviness.

Leeks can also be slowly sautéed in a little extra virgin olive oil, course salt and ground pepper and then served with any steak or beef patty. Or, the sautéed leeks can be added to Bechamel sauce and served with poultry. Or, if you are really decadent add a little sour cream and serve them with fish or on a cracker as an hors d'oeuvre. They also good in an omelet or with some beef or chicken broth as a soup.

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