Recipe: Leeks and Onions in Milk

Leeks and onions in milk (Poreaux et Oignons avec Lait)

(article originally published February 2011, Phoenix, Barony of Sacred Stone)

French Recipe – Le Menagier de Paris (1393)

Porée blanche est dicte ainsi pour ce qu’elles est faite du blanc des poreaux, à l’eschinée à l’andoulle et au jambon, ès saison d’automne et d’iver à jour de char; et sachez que nulle autre gresse que de porc n’y est bonne.

Et premièrement, l’en eslit, lave, mince et esverde les poreaux, c’est assavoir en esté, quant iceulx poreaux sont jeunes: mais en yver quant iceulx poreaux sont plus viels et plus durs, il les convient pourboulir en lieu esverder, et se c’est à jour de poisson, après ce que dit est, il les convient mettre en un pot avec de l’eau chaude et ainsi cuire, et aussi cuire des oignons mincés, puis frire les oignons, et aprés frire iceuls poireaux avec les oigons qui jà sont fris; puis mettre tout cuire en un pot et du lait de vache, se c’est en carnage et à jour de poisson; et se c’est en karesme l’en y met lait d’amandes. Et se c’est à jour de char, quant iceulx poreaux d’esté sont esverdés, ou les poreaux d’iver pourboulis comme dit est, l’en les met en un pot cuire en l’en les met en un pot cuire en l’eaue des saleures, ou du porc et du lart dedans.

Nota que aucunesfois à poreaux, l’en fait lioison de pain.  (MP 139-140)

Translation – Redon p.66

White porée is so called because it is made with the white of leeks (served) with pork loin, andouille, or ham on meat days in autumn and winter.  And note that no fat other than that of hog is suitable for this.

First, pick through, wash, slice and éverder the leeks if they are young, i.e., in summer; in winter, when they are older and tougher, it is better to boil them than to éverder them.  And if it is a time of abstinence, after having prepared them as indicated, you must put them in a pot with hot water and cook them; also cook sliced onions, fry them, and then fry the leeks with them; then cook everything in a pot with milk, whether it is a meat day or a day of abstinence; but if it is Lent, substitute almond milk.  And if it a meat day, when the summer leeks have been éverdés or the winter leeks boiled as indicated above, put them to cook in a pot together with the water from slat meat or with pork and pork fat.

Note: Sometimes a bread liaison is made from the leeks (MP 139-140).

COOKBOOK INTERPRETATION: Redon on pages 189 to 190 gives their interpretation of the dish. Did not include it here due to copyright restrictions.

MY INTERPRETATION: For 16 people at a Feast


Sink Stove top Cutting Board
Pot, Cooking Knife
Frying Pan Sieve/Cor. Wooden spoons
Serving bowls and spoons Measuring cup (wet)


2  leeks
1 onion (White or Yellow)
1 cup cream
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons oil or lard or butter
Water and salt


  1. Slice and carefully wash the leeks. You may do the root only, or include the stem.
  2. Cook in boiling salted water for a few minutes. Drain and return to the saucepan.
  3. Peel and slice the onion. Sauté over low to medium heat in 2 tablespoons oil until it is very tender but not browned.
  4. Combine the onions and leeks (in the saucepan). Add the cream and cook for 10-30 minutes more over low heat.  Watch carefully and stir regularily.
  5. This can be let to simmer several hours if timing of feast requires it.


The recipe is period to late 15th century France, and can be found in Le Menagier de Paris.

I choose to include the green stem because I found that the bright green peeking through the mass of white to be beautiful.  I chose to boil the leeks and not include them when frying the onion because 1) it created two different tastes and 2) it saved time during the mass production of feast.

I used the milk/cream mixture as period milk would not be homogenized and that gives a higher fat feel to the tongue.


Redon, Odile, Francoise Sabban & Silvano Serventi.  Translated by Edward Schneider.  The Medieval Kitchen: Recipes from France and Italy.  The University of Chicago Press: Chicago.  1998.

Banham, Debby.  Food and Drink in Anglo-Saxon England.  Tempus Publishing Limited: Stroud, Gloucesterershire.  2004.

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