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Leek pudding is generally a doughy dish flavored with leeks, a vegetable related to onions and garlic. It may also be made as a bread or corn pudding. Leek pudding is not normally created as a dessert but instead is usually served as a side dish to stew, poultry, or sometimes beef. It is generally homemade.
Similar in appearance to green onions, leeks are part of the Allium genus, along with onions and garlic. They have a white stalk turning to light green, topped on one end by short roots and the other by many long, deep green leaves. Only the white and light green parts are used in leek pudding.
Traditionally, suet, a type of hard cow or sheep fat commonly found around the kidneys, is used in leek pudding, but butter and heavy whipping cream can be used instead. The Northumbrian variety of leek pudding includes both suet and butter. Flour and salt are the only other constant ingredients across versions, and many puddings may be made with few additional ingredients. Baking powder, sugar, and eggs may be found in some versions, and typical additional spices include black pepper, nutmeg, and cayenne pepper.
Leek pudding is made in two general ways. In the first, the leeks are mixed in with the other ingredients to form a dough. Although the second version also forms a dough with most of the ingredients, the leeks are left out. Half the dough is pressed into the bottom of a pudding basin, the leeks are spread over the dough, and the other half of the dough is placed on top, like a pie. In both versions, the leeks are chopped prior to inclusion in the dish, and the pudding is normally steamed to cook.
Corn pudding versions of leek pudding add both kernel corn and creamed corn. The leeks are usually sauteed prior to inclusions in the pudding. The other ingredients are combined, then the corn and leeks are mixed in to complete. Corn versions are often topped with cheese as well.
Bread pudding may also be made with leeks. White bread is a necessary element in these puddings, and additional seasonings, such as thyme or chives, may also be added. Bread cubes are often toasted before inclusion, and like the corn pudding, the leeks are sauteed and cheese may be added to top the dish. Both corn and bread leek pudding are normally baked.