The leek is one of the vegetables that I find generally plentiful in Europe, all year-round. Yet every time I see it when I do food shopping, I just ignore it. But, it’s not only leeks. I’m also a stranger to other regulars such as artichoke, turnips, endives…there must be even more!
You see, leeks are not very common in the Philippines – or even in Southeast Asia in general – because they just won’t thrive in hot and humid weather. Somehow I learned that it could be found in the Mountain Province, a landlocked, very mountainous, cold region at the north of the Philippines. The cool weather up there might have been conducive for growing this plant, in modest versions for the least. Due to its rarity of course, leeks aren’t part of the Filipino diet.
Leeks belong to the same plant gene of onion and garlic, Allium. After getting a few tears from the first time I chopped these, I can say it is closely related to onions. A bundle of leaf sheaths that is commonly called as a stem or stalk is the edible part of the leek plant. Take note – leaves are out! Leeks are commonly used for adding flavor to stock. It is also prepared as an ingredient for soups; the popular of which are leek and potato soup, and vichyssoise (a thick soup made of leeks, onions, potatoes, cream and chicken stock).
So apart from making soups and stocks, I then thought that there’s no way I can cook leeks differently. Until one time, I encountered another authentic Swiss dish. It’s called papet vaudois, a leek hotpot originated from Vaud region.
Papet vaudois is a mishmash of leeks and potatoes stewed in white wine for hours, with crimson, fat sausage fancily placed atop of it. To make it uniquely Swiss, use Vaudoise saucisson (a coarse, cold-smoked pork sausage).
There are also other sausages to choose from. The Swiss have: Fribourg saucisson (smoked-twice pork sausage), Boutefas (another smoked pork sausage, that can be as heavy as up to 3 kilograms), saucisse aux choux (sausage with pork and white cabbage), saucisse au foie (sausage with pork and pork liver), Neuchatel saucisson (smoked pork sausage with a mild taste). It seems pretty obvious how the Swiss like sausages a lot!
If there’s no Swiss sausages to be found at all, which is possible especially when you’re not in Switzerland, you can use regular (smoked) pork sausage. I bet, it would taste just as the same.
1 tablespoon butter
1 onion 2 garlic clove, chopped
1 kg leek, cut lengthwise, in approx. 4 cm wide sections 2 dl vegetable bouillon 1 dl white wine 500g firm-cooking potatoes cut into 3-cm cubes
½ teaspoon salt freshly ground pepper 1 Vaudoise Saucisson (Vaudoise sausage) (approx. 300 g)
1 Saucisse aux choux (Sausage made of pork and cabbage) (approx. 300 g)
1. Melt the butter over low heat. Fry the onions, garlic and leeks for approx. 3 minutes.
2. Add bouillon, white wine and potatoes, bring to a boil. Reduce heat, sea- son vegetables.
3. Place Saucisson and Saucisse on the vegetables, cover and cook at low heat for approx. 45 minutes. Towards the end of the cooking time, remove the lid and boil off some of the liquid.
Papet vaudois recipe is adopted from myswitzerland.com.