As with all new crop pears, these will need to be ripened for 4-7 days before they are ready to eat. Check the neck for ripeness by gently pressing your thumb near the stem end of the pear. When it gives slightly, the pear is ripe.
Besides potato leek soup (recipe below), there are other delicious ways to eat leeks. Used as an onion swap they make a great base in just about anything. Cook in a little oil until tender as a base for a sauce, sauté, scrambled eggs, soup, etc. The flavor is milder than an onion so I don’t mind having larger chunks. I like to cut them into quarter inch rounds. Leeks are cousins to the old, familiar onion, but have a sweeter, more delicate flavor reminiscent of garlic or chives and are delicious no matter how they’re cooked. Additionally, leeks contain generous amounts of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, making the vegetable a great addition to a healthy diet. You can cook leeks by poaching them in chicken broth, pan-frying them in a little oil, or boiling them until tender.
Packed with nutrition, potatoes are among the most popular of all the root vegetables. Low in fat and high in health and beauty-promoting dietary fiber, potatoes are a rich source of B vitamins as well as vitamin C, and vitamin K. Potatoes are an excellent source of healthy, energy-giving complex carbohydrates, and contain good amounts of certain essential minerals like iron, manganese, magnesium, phosphorous, copper and potassium. Be sure to store potatoes in a cool dark place so they don’t develop green spots (from exposure to light) or sprout.
Simple Potato Leek Soup
You will be able to make this simple soup in no time flat, and can feel good about filling up your belly with healthful ingredients!
2-3 large leeks, white and light green parts only
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
6 medium-to-large potatoes
8 cups low-sodium chicken broth (or homemade vegetable stock or water)
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Fresh parsley, chopped, for garnish
Sour cream, for serving (optional)
- Slice leeks in half lengthwise and wash thoroughly. Cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick half-moons. Heat olive oil and butter over medium heat in Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot. Add leeks and garlic and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until leeks are softened but not browned, about 10-12 minutes.
- While leeks are cooking, fill large bowl halfway with cold water. Peel potatoes, placing each in bowl of water immediately after peeling to prevent browning. Cut each potato in half lengthwise and slice into 1/2-inch-thick half-moons. Drain potato slices and add to pot along with stock and a few generous grinds of pepper. Raise heat to high and bring soup to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook until potatoes are very soft, about 20 minutes.
- Puree soup with an immersion blender or in batches in standing blender. If you like your soups on the hearty side, you can skip this step, or lightly puree (some pureeing makes for that lovely creamy texture, so don’t skip it completely). Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve with parsley and sour cream if desired. Soup reheats well and will keep in refrigerator for up to one week.