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Veg Box Day3: Leek & chestnut speltotto

It's day 3 and there is still a lot of veg in the box...

One of our customers recently mentioned a leek and chestnut risotto, which sounded like a delicious idea, so today I'm zooming in on those leeks! It was quite easy to find a recipe for this online - I used this one from River Cottage as a starting point. We happen to have an opened pack of pearled spelt sitting around - it can be used just like rice and adds a nutty, wholesome dimension so it seems like a good idea here.


from the box: leeks, onion

from the cupboard: olive oil, butter, white wine, stock (about 1 ltr), thyme.

other: pearled spelt, cooked chestnuts (or roast your own)

cook fresh: leeks and chestnuts

How to:

Slice the leeks lengthways and wash carefully to remove all grit. Slice thinly.

Finely slice some onion (I used half) - optional.

Melt some butter in a pan with a glug of olive oil, add the onion and leeks and cook in a covered pan until softened - about 20 mins.

Heat up the stock and keep hot.

Add the spelt to the butter & leek mix, and stir for a few minutes until coated. Add a glass of white wine, and cook stirring until all the liquid is absorbed.

Start adding the stock, one ladleful at the time, and cook stirring often, until liquid is absorbed, then repeat with the next ladle of stock, and so on, until the stock is used up and the spelt (or rice) is softened and creamy - this will take about 25 mins.

In the meantime, crumble up the chestnuts, and fry in a little butter until browned, set aside.

When the speltotto is ready, season with plenty of fresh black pepper, and serve with a good helping of the chestnuts on top. Scatter some fresh thyme on top and tuck in!

leek & chestnut speltotto

Variation: Use risotto rice (arborio) instead of the spelt.

Serve with sauerkraut on the side to add a bit of zing to this mellow dish.

Confession: I wish I used more chestnuts - the whole pack instead just half. The chestnuts are the star ingredient here, they are not just a garnish - I didn't quite get that until we started eating.

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