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Onions, Leeks & Shallots

5.3 PRODUCE 8 shallots harvested.jpg


A good onion crop can be stored all winter, but they need an eye keeping on them. Same applies to shallots.
Look for any sign of mould or rot. If this is found, cut away the affected parts and use the rest of the flesh as soon as possible. Leeks are different. Best served freshly dug, tops and root removed, sliced and steeped in plenty of water to remove any sign of soil before batch cooking to freeze meals for the busy growing seasons ahead.


Peel and halve shallots or small onions & cook until just beginning to soften.
Grease a shallow round cake tin with butter, finely chopped sage and a little sugar.
Pack the drained onions neatly around the base of tin.
Cover with puff pastry and cook in hot oven until well risen and golden.
Serve upside down as an Onion Tart Tatin, topped with grated cheese and a little balsamic vinegar.


1 cooked chicken
2 leeks thinly sliced
2 crushed garlic cloves
1 cup white sliced mushrooms
7oz very low fat cream cheese
3 tablsp fresh parsley
Pk frozen, thawed puff pastry, or fresh from Bensons.
grated rind 1 lemon
1 egg

Strip meat from chicken & chop. Set aside.
Melt butter & fry leeks 10 mins.
Stir in mushrooms & cook 5 mins
Add cream cheese.
Add lemon rind.
Add parsley & season.
Stir in chicken.
Roll pastry 14” x 10”.
Fill center 1/3rd & crisscross lattice style to overlap & make long parcel shape.
Beat egg & brush top
Reduce heat to low for further 15 mins.
Allow to stand 10 mins
Dress with fresh herbs & serve with salad or fresh veg
*Put chicken carcass and skin in slow cooker with a chopped onion, stick celery chopped and a carrot. Cover with enough water to submerge and leave undisturbed for 8-9 hours on low setting.
Strain through colander, saving the liquid and pieces of chicken meat. Discard bones, skin and veg.
Stock can be cooled and frozen to use with soups etc.


This recipe is NOT for using up an onion glut, but it IS a bit of a luxury that some of us need once in a while, so it’s being included.
With one small, finely sliced red onion, caramelise it slowly in butter, a little olive oil, and a teaspoon brown sugar until soft and golden, then leave to one side.
Add 2 rashers of smoked bacon to the pan and cook until brown and crispy. Put to one side.
Next, take a 1⁄4 lb good quality burger, preferably homemade and slowly griddle it both sides to perfection.
Take a thick slice from the centre part of large fresh tomato. Leave aside.
Take a burger bun, cut in half and lightly toast the inner sides.
Slice a piece of blue cheese to fit.
To make the stack:
Reheat onions and bacon quickly.
Place fresh rocket on the bottom and top with the burger adding a dash of Worcestershire sauce. Next add the tomato slice, then the caramelised onions and lastly the blue cheese.
Quickly grill the stack to melt the cheese.
Replace the burger bun lid and stab with a long bamboo skewer.
Serve with chips and a rocket salad.


1 pint/600ml milk
1⁄2 pint/300ml whipping cream
1lb/450g white fish fillet such as cod, haddock or coley.
8oz/225g smoked haddock or smoked cod fillet
6oz/175g cooked and peeled small to medium prawns, thawed if frozen
3 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and roughly chopped
3.5oz/100g butter
2oz/45g plain flour
3 tblsp chopped fresh parsley
2.2lb/1kg peeled floury potatoes
1 large leek, thinly sliced and washed well
2.5oz/75g Cheddar, coarsely grated

Put 3⁄4 pint/450ml of the milk and the cream into a large pan and bring to the boil. Add the white and smoked fish fillets and simmer for 5-6 minutes, until just cooked through. Lift the fillets onto a plate to cool slightly and strain the liquid into a jug.
When the fish is cool enough to handle, break it into large flakes, discarding the skin and any bones. Spread over the base of a 2.5pint/1.75 litre shallow ovenproof dish and scatter over the prawns and chopped eggs.
Melt 11⁄2 oz/50g of the butter in a pan, add the flour and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Pull the pan off the heat and gradually stir in the reserved cooking liquid. Return to the heat and slowly bring back to the boil, stirring all the time. Simmer the sauce for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season to taste, stir in the parsley and pour over the fish. Leave to go cold.
Cut the potatoes into large chunks and boil in salted water for 20 minutes or until soft. Meanwhile, melt the remaining 11⁄2 oz/50g butter in a small pan, add the sliced leek and cook gently for 3-4 minutes, until tender.
Drain the potatoes well, return to the pan and mash until smooth. Stir in the buttery leek, cheese and a little of the remaining milk to make a spreadable but not too wet mash. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Preheat the grill to medium. Spoon the mash over the top of the pie and spread it out in an even layer. Rough up the surface with a fork or the back of a spoon and grill the top of the pie for 15-20 minutes, until bubbling and golden brown.

4 leeks (white bits only and finely sliced).
2 garlic cloves peeled and chopped.
1 large potato peeled and cut into half inch dice.
2pints+/1 liter of veg or chicken stock,
4oz/110g watercress, finely chopped.
Salt and freshly ground black pepper.

To serve: very low fat fromage frais.
Fry leeks, garlic and potato in fry light for 2 - 3 mins. Add watercress and stock and bring to the boil. Cover and simmer for 10 -12 mins or until potatoes are tender. Season well.
Using a blender blend until smooth.
Serve in a bowl with a dollop of fromage frais.

1oz/30g butter
2 large leeks, trimmed, cut into medium slices and washed
1 tblsp Dijon mustard
8 medium slices Granary bread
3 eggs
500ml whole milk
7oz/200g vegetarian Stilton, crumbled
7oz/200g Cheddar, grated

Heat 1⁄2 oz/10g butter in a large frying pan over a medium-low heat. Add the leeks and cook gently for 6-8 minutes, stirring occasionally until softened but not coloured. Set aside.
Thinly spread the remaining butter and the mustard on 1 side of each slice of bread.
Cut each slice into quarters.
In a large jug, beat the eggs, milk and season.
Heat the oven to fan170°C/190°C/ gas 5.
Arrange a third of the bread, buttered-side up, in an ovenproof dish.
Scatter with a third of the leeks and a third of the cheeses, then pour over a third of the milk mixture, evenly and slowly. Repeat to use up the remaining ingredients, then leave to soak for 20 minutes or so, if you have time.
Place the dish on a baking sheet and cook for 30-40 minutes, until risen and golden.
Serve warm with vegetables.


Faffy, but worth it for special occasion. Read recipe through for complete ingredient list.
1 1⁄2 lb braising beef, cubed
Lean bacon
1 carrot, peeled & sliced
1 onion sliced
2 sticks celery, sliced
4 fresh bay leaves, crushed
2 tablsp fresh thyme

Sweat all these in a small amount of olive oil.
Add 1⁄2 bottle of the best red wine you can afford to cook with and & simmer 15 mins
Add cubed meat & marinade covered, in fridge, overnight.
Remove meat, drain & dry on kitchen paper. Reserve all juices but discard marinade vegetables only.
Melt 1oz butter & fry a few strips of bacon in large frying pan.
Add 1⁄2lb peeled shallots & 1 clove crushed garlic.
Tip the meat mix out of pan and set aside.
Add a little more oil to pan.
Fry beef fast.
Add bacon & onion mix.
Add 1 ladle of juices to the meat mix
Dissolve 2-tablsp plain flour into the meat mix. Stirring.
Add rest of marinade juices, 1⁄2 pint stock, Worcestershire sauce, tomato puree, & a few crushed juniper berries.
Place everything into a lidded casserole dish and cook in a preheated oven to Gas 1/ 275°F /140°C for 2 hours,
or add to a slow cooker and leave all day to slowly cook (6-7 hours.)
At this stage, Boeuf Bourguignon freezes well in individual portions.
To serve fresh:

*1 hr before end time, stir in lots of butter fried mushrooms.
*20 minutes before end time, add dumplings*

4oz Self Raising flour.
2 oz Vegetable suet
2 tablsp fresh parsley
Salt & pepper
Enough water to bind all ingredients together.
Form into balls & drop on top of casserole.
Serve with French fries & garlic bread or mashed potato & peas

Tina’s French Onion Soup

11⁄2 lb onions
2oz butter
1tblsp oil
salt n pepper
1teasp soft brown sugar
11⁄2 oz plain flour
2 beef stock cubes
3 pints boiling water
rounds of French bread
1oz grated parmesan.

Peel and slice onions.
Melt butter with oil and cook onions slowly to soften but not brown for 15 mins in uncovered pan.
Raise heat a little and stir in 1 teasp salt and the sugar.
Cook for 30mins stirring frequently until golden brown.
Sprinkle in the flour and cook for 2 mins.
Dissolve stock cubes in boiling water and add to pan gradually, seasoning to taste.
Simmer 30 mins and just before serving, toast bread and place in bottom of tureen. Pour soup on top and sprinkle toast with cheese when it comes to the surface.....
OR, serve soup simply, in dishes with crusty bread.

If you are reading this and have a favourite onion or leek recipe you are willing to share, please use our contact page and we will try to include it.

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