Many a Geordie over a certain age will instantly cite leek pudding as their favourite local dish; just mention the name and they will be instantly transported back to their childhood, when leek pudding was regularly served with stew, with mince or just with plain old gravy.
Perhaps tastes have changed, we’re more health conscious or we don’t generally need the kind of food that keeps us weighted to the spot in a gale, but I’ve yet to come across anyone who still makes leek pudding. This traditional County Durham dish is said to date back to the 18th century. As with many local recipes, there are umpteen variations but the common ingredients for this steamed pudding are leeks and suet pastry.
Recipe versions include: (version 1) finely chopped raw leeks being incorporated into the dry dough ingredients, mixed to a stiff dough with water, placed into a pudding bowl; or (version 2) lining a pudding bowl with suet pastry, filling it with partially-cooked leeks and sometimes onions and/or bacon before topping it with a suet pastry lid; or then again forming the dough into a roll for a savoury roly-poly pudding, then steaming for 2 hours. A quicker version is to form the leek dough into dumplings, placed on top of a stew for the last 20 – 25 minutes of cooking.