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Most recipes call for the white and the inner green parts of leeks. I feel like I'm wasting half leek.

After googling a little, I've found some people consider it edible if properly cooked. I guess a couple of hours of simmering should be enough, but my book says to use only white and inner green parts for stock. Is there a reason not to use it, if properly cleaned?

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See also cooking.stackexchange.com/questions/4584/…. In general, you can put most of your vegetable "scraps" into stock with good results. –  kevins Sep 10 '10 at 19:21
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5 Answers

up vote 16 down vote accepted

Absolutely, go ahead and use it.

I always ignore the "white and light green parts" instruction anyway, and use the leek up until the point where it feels dried out instead of firm and fleshy—well into the dark green parts—and it's always delicious, even when cooked for significantly less than several hours.

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I thought there would be a reason... You're saying that's kind of a myth? –  Julio Sep 10 '10 at 20:08
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My mother always said it was just that some people think the white and pale parts are more attractive. The dark green parts aren't quite as tender, but it's a pretty slight difference. It's certainly not something that would make a difference for stock, where you're removing the solids and any texture issues anyway. –  In the Booley House Sep 10 '10 at 20:32
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By all means you should do this. Do split it and wash the grit out. Sediment in there is too fine for a sieve and gelatin will make passing finished stock through muslin impossible. Plus you'll literally infuse the flavor of dirt (and whatever chemicals were in it) into your stock.

When I use onions for stock, I keep their skin on. I don't peel my garlic, I sometimes throw a whole bulb in. With tomatoes, I keep the vine in the pot! It infuses their great flavor ten fold.

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If you're trying to make a vichyssoise or a warm potato-leek soup then I wouldn't recommend it as the flavour is a bit strong. But if you're making a robust stock for any other purpose, then go ahead.

I like to throw them in whole, so that I can remove them later.

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I agree the darker green doesn't take 2 hours or more. I've been using all of it chopped in a Quinoa, White Bean, & Kale Stew recipe, cooks fine. I don't distinguish individual flavors real well. But I regretted using all of it in a Potato Leek Soup recently because most of it was pureed & it gave it such a green color that family not used to eating w/more open mind was probably turned off. But I've been wondering,too why most recipes don't call for it. Good to know I'm not the only one trying to use it! :)

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There is actually a flavour difference between the white and the green--as there is with any fruits or vegetables with colour variations. With leeks, the white is more delicate and the green more robust, which is why one tends to use the whites for stock.

Personally, I think the greens sliced up and then treated as onion rings (dust with seasoned cornstarch and deep fry) are both delicious and beautiful used as a garnish. I wouldn't use the greens in a stock unless I was aiming for a particularly aggressive flavour.

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Good to know. I guess I like more robust leek flavor! (This is unsurprising, as it's one of my favorite veg.) –  In the Booley House Sep 11 '10 at 16:40
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