Welsh Guard Adorning his Leek
The Leek, Allium porrum is a sweet and mild member of the onion family. I would say it has led quite an interesting history, seeming to stem as far back as biblical days and is mentioned in the book of Numbers as one of the things that was missed when the children of Israel left Egypt..What caught my attention was at one time Welsh soldiers actually wore a leek in their hats in the battle against the Saxon. They must have had fair size hats, because leeks can get quite thick. I would say the ones I'm using in my garden are a good 1 1/2 to 2 inches in diameter and very long, perhaps 25 to 30 inches. The Welsh celebrate the victory won in battle on March 1st calling it St. Davids Day. Seeming enough all the Welsh people, men and women alike wear a Leek in their hats during the celebration. I got very curious and found a picture of a Welsh Guard wearing his imitation Leek in his hat as a symbol of pride. I just never knew what was up with the plume. It is amazing to me the history one can learn from vegetables.
I soon began my day pulling up a delectable leek and gathering fresh herbs from the garden with plans to prepare a wonderful Texas Cowhorn Stew. All the herbs are quite splendid during this second week of April and I've been quite anxious to use several of them. The stew has just a tiny bit of kick to it, or this just wouldn't be Texas. Everything is being loaded into the crock pot early today and cooking on high to be good and ready to ring that bell for dinner time.
3 small beef shanks
About a dozen sm. to med. carrots, chopped
2 stalks of celery, chopped
1/2 large Poblano Pepper, diced
1 large leek, sliced lengthwise
1 can diced tomatoes
Bee Balm (Monardia), 1 sprig
Thyme, several sprigs
Oregano, 3 or 4 sprigs
Rosemary, 1 sprig
1 1/2 tsp.Sea Salt, or to taste
2 tsp. Cumin
1 tsp. black mustard seed
1 tsp. Chili powder, or to taste
A few shakes of black pepper
Cilantro (optional, to be used fresh as garnish)
OH..and decided to throw in some potatoes and mushrooms! Yum!
Add meat first to crock pot. Chop and dice all the vegetables and place on top of meat. Add the can of tomatoes and then the spices. Dice the herbs and put them on the top. I do the Leeks last. You must clean and prepare Leeks in a special way. They will have dirt and stuff from the garden down inside and must be cleaned and sliced properly.
First Cut the ends off, just leave a little green. Then slice the leek lengthwise in half. Next I sliced the leek several more times, to about the width of a linguine noodle. Rinse them with water to be sure to remove any dirt.
You can then dice them cross ways, but I prefer to leave them long like pasta and lay them on the very top in the pot. Fill the pot full of water and turn it on high with the lid on. At the end of cooking I stir the Leeks down into the stew and sprinkle on a tad of chopped cilantro.
Serve up a hot bowl to the family with some homemade fresh bread!!