Seasonal local food recipe No 77: Leeks with greens

A recipe from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s new River Cottage Everyday cookbook. ‘Soft, buttery, wilted leeks bring a lovely sweetness to any kind of lightly cooked cabbage or greens,’ he says. ‘Easy to throw together, can be made with different seasonal green throughout most of the year and works as a side dish to everything …’ It’s just got to be worth trying.

Serves 4

Preparation and cooking about 15-20 minutes

about 500g leeks
a knob of unsalted butter
1 savoy or other green cabbage, 2 heads of spring greens, or a few bunches of curly kale
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Trim the leeks, slice them finely (maximum 5mm) and give them a good rinse to get rid of any grit. Heat the butter in a large frying pan or wide saucepan and add the leeks with a pinch of salt. Let them cook gently for 5-6 minutes, stirring or shaking the pan occasionally, until wilted and tender.

Meanwhile, grim and coarsely shred the cabbage, greens or kale. Cook lightly – in either a steamer or a large saucepan of salted water – for 3-4 minutes, until wilted and tender but not too soft. Remove from the heat immediately, drain well and let the excess moisture steam off for a minute or so. Then add to the pan of buttery leeks, along with some more seasoning, and stir over a low heat for about a minutes until thoroughly combined. Serve straight away.

In theory you can use any leftovers for bubble and squeak … but in practice there rarely are any.

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