Let’s say your mouth is watering for some spring wild leeks.  Let’s say you’re dreaming of Wild Leek Soup. 

What to do?  First, one must locate the wild leeks.  This is not necessarily an easy task.  I’ve hunted the woods near our house for years, and have never found wild leeks growing nearby.  Doesn’t mean they’re not around.  Just means I can’t find ’em.

So you have to get clever.  Ask around, casually.  “Anyone know where there’s some wild leeks?”  And of course people know.  But the good growing spots are always halfway across the county, on somebody else’s property, or on a two-track that’s almost impossible to find.

So you get really crafty.  You find a spot, I’m not telling how.  I’m sure you’re all as crafty as I am.  You’ll find a good leek-picking spot, if you keep looking and asking and looking some more. (Latest theory:  I think they grow near rivers, streams and wetter terrain.)

The first glimpse of the wild leek

The first glimpse of the wild leek

So I stumble through a swamp, get lost…surely you don’t want to hear all the sordid details..and finally determine it was all an error of judgment when…YES!  Look at those beautiful green wild leeks! 

Of course there’s only a few, so one must dig carefully.  Only take one here, another there.  Remember that we must be conservationists.  The Native Americans counsel to remember reciprocity and leave a gift when you harvest wild foods.  So I said thanks and offered a pinch of sage to the earth as she yielded her first two marvelous leeks.

Troweling up the first wild leeks

Troweling up the first wild leeks

You dig carefully.  If you’re too quick, you’ll injure the slender roots and then forget about your leek bulbs.  They’re actually quite similar to green onions, for those unfamiliar with the wild variety.  They can be quite slender…or they can be as thick as a cultivated green onion.  The smell is quite unique though!  I can’t describe it.  Aromatic tang of onions and soil and a sharp pungency that overwhelms.  In a good way.

So you’re cultivating carefully and trying not to take too many, when suddenly you look far in the distance and see what appears to be a field of green.  A FIELD OF GREEN?  In early May?  So you wander over and gasp in disbelief–

Field of leeks, oh my!

Field of leeks, oh my!

So you pick until you think you have enough, without getting greedy.  Only you will know what “greedy” means in your kitchen.  You drive home near ecstasy with your precious find and dump them in the sink.  Now comes the oh-so-tiresome part.  Cleaning ’em.  Sorry.  It must be done.  Hopefully your husband will not feel a need to photograph you at this task.  And insist it should be included in your blog.

Cleaning the leeks

Cleaning the leeks

Then comes the part we’ve all been waiting for.  EATING the wild leeks!  I don’t recommend eating them raw.  Some people may…but they’re much more luscious cooked.  Here is my made-up recipe for soup.  Hope you find some wild leeks so you can try it.

Wild Leek Soup (serves 2)

1.  Make some vegetable broth if you want really good veggie stock.  I took some celery, an onion, 1 carrot, a bay leave and 2 dried wild mushrooms and cooked it for 15 minutes.  Then blend it in the blender.

2.  Cut up 1 cup of wild leeks.  Use mostly the white bulb part, but add in some of the green.  Saute them in some olive oil (1-2 teaspoons) sprinkled with some salt at medium heat for a couple minutes.  Reduce the heat to low and continue to cook for 15-20 minutes stirring regularly.

3.  Add some stock.  Oh, you’re going to want amounts.  Gosh.  How about 1-2 cups of stock.  Then 1 cup of milk or soymilk.  (We use soymilk.)  Now those of you who have some white miso handy, dissolve a tablespoon or two in some of the stock.  Stir it back into the soup, mixing well.  If you don’t have white miso, don’t worry.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

4.  If you don’t want to be a purist, you can add some diced celery and potatoes with the stock mixture and cook til they’re soft.  But really…it is quite gourmet in its simplicity without the additional vegetables.  Or you could add other herbs.

Bon appetit!  You are now a gourmet wild leek chef.  Honest.

Wild Leek Soup

Wild Leek Soup

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