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03 Feb 2020

Leeks - grow and eat - roasted pheasant cock-a-leekie

BBC Gardeners' World Live
Leeks - grow and eat - roasted pheasant cock-a-leekie

Leeks are a veg patch stalwart. They’re easy to grow from seed, and by sowing from February to June, you will be able to harvest them from late August, all through the winter and into the following February.

Our friends at the National Allotment Society, who return to BBC Gardeners' World Live 2020 in their 90th Anniversary year, have these expert growing tips:

  • Leeks have a long growing season of nearly nine months from sowing to harvesting.
  • You can start sowing from seed in February/March - sowing them in trays of fresh seed compost will protect from leek moth and leek fly.
  • When your seedlings uncurl, prick them out into trays of potting compost, around 5cms apart. They'll be ready for transplanting (sometime during May) when around 20cms. 
  • Plant out your leeks on an overcast day to prevent putting them under stress. 

Read more about growing leeks on the National Allotment Society website >

You'll find the National Allotment Society experts sharing top tips at the Let's Talk Allotments area at BBC Gardeners' World Live 2020.


Brad Carter

There are numerous recipes for your homegrown leeks, but there are few so iconic as cock-a-leekie. In this version of the classic Scottish soup made by boiling fowl with leeks, Brad Carter has created a sophisticated yet totally comforting dish.

Brad Carter is the owner and head chef at Carters of Mosely in Birmingham, which was awarded a Michelin star in 2015. With a menu celebrating local British produce, he challenges himself to excite people with his cooking and serve up food you cannot get at home

Brad demonstrated this dish live on stage at the BBC Good Food Show Winter 2019, and the recipe is available in the Showguide.

Roasted pheasant cock-a-leekie

Roasted Pheasant recipe

INGREDIENTS (serves 4)

  • 1 litre chicken stock
  • 50g pearl barley, rinsed
  • 1 tbsp grapeseed oil
  • 200g smoked lardons
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 whole young pheasants, oven ready
  • 4 leeks, washed & cut lengthways
  • 20 prunes, halved
  • 50g butter
  • 50g flat leaf parsley, chopped

METHOD

  1. Heat the oven to 200C/Fan 180C/ Gas 6. Pour the chicken stock into a pan, bring to the boil, then add the pearl barley. Bring back to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 25 mins, until the barley is tender. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  2. Heat the oil in a frying pan, add the lardons and fry until golden brown. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside. Add the onions to the pan and fry for around 3 mins. Then add the onions to the bacon lardons.
  3. Add the pheasants to the pan and fry for 2-3 mins, until sealed all over. Remove the pheasants from the pan and set aside. 
  4. Add the leeks, cut side down to the pan and sauté until golden brown. Drain and set aside.
  5. Place the leeks in a large flameproof casserole dish and sprinkle over the lardons and prunes. Pour over the chicken and barley stock, then place the pheasants on top. Roast in the oven for 25 mins.
  6. Remove from the oven and place on the hob. Transfer the pheasants onto a chopping board to rest.
  7. Stir the butter into the cock-a-leekie mixture in the pan, then add the parsley. Season with salt and pepper.
  8. Carve the pheasants into leg and breast joints, then serve on top of the cock-a-leekie mixture.

Michel Roux Jr

You can see more top chefs demonstrating tasty seasonal recipes at the BBC Good Food Show Summer. Remember, all tickets to BBC Gardeners' World Live include free entry to this tasty show!  

Book tickets >

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