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Regional Recipes: Leek Pudding

Leek pudding is a savoury pudding which is traditionally made in North East England. A satisfying dish perfect for a cold day.

Suet puddings are a common to British cooking. These puddings are made from suet and boiled or steamed. Whilst a pudding is normally a dessert or sweet dish like St Stephen’s pudding or Newcastle pudding, savoury versions exist as well.

Whilst on the hunt for local North East recipes I kept coming across mentions of leek pudding. I had to find out more. Leek pudding is a traditional Geordie dish that probably dates back to the 18th Century. It was served as an accompaniment to stew, mince or just with gravy.

Leek pudding on a table with white sauce

What is Leek Pudding?

Leek pudding is a savoury suet pudding and there are two ways to make it. The first way wraps leeks inside a casing of suet pastry so they tumble out when you cut the pudding. The second way mixes the leeks into the pastry. . To cook both versions you need to steam the pudding in a bowl until it is ready.

As with many local recipes there are other variations which include adding cheese or bacon into the pudding with the leeks to add a different flavour. Whatever variant you choose the common ingredients are suet pastry and leeks.  

I chose to make the first variant, making a suet pastry to enclose the leeks.

Leek pudding before cutting on a plate with pan of white sauce

It is appropriate that leek pudding is a recipe from North East England. Leeks are often grown on allotments and a prize for the best leek is often a coveted award at village fairs. Leek growing can be a very serious business with the secrets for prize leeks handed down from generation to generation. Rivalry is intense. There are stories of leeks being destroyed and people sleeping on their allotments to guard their prized leeks from harm.

A leek pudding is a fitting way to serve leeks, giving them a place of honour on the table. The little sign in the picture I won from Geordie Gifts who create unique gifts from the North East. It seemed appropriate to use it in the photo.

Leek pudding is also known as Geordie leek pudding or Northumberland leek pudding.

Leek pudding

Read more: Traditonal North East recipe: Sly cakes

Wartime leek pudding

It is not surprising that leek pudding was also popular during the Second World War. During the time of rationing filling meals would make limited food stretch further. Most people grew their own fruit and vegetables to help supplement their rations.

Leeks are a forgiving vegetable that are easy to grow. Good in many different recipes they are in season from September to May. Leek pudding was the perfect meal for the wartime cook especially in the winter months when not many vegetables are in season.

How to make leek pudding

To make the leek pudding first make the suet pastry Mix the flour and suet with mustard and pepper. This will make the pastry slightly spicy to complement the leeks. When the pastry is the right consistency roll it out. Grease a pudding bowl and use the pastry to line it. Remember to keep aside enough pastry to use for the top of the pudding.

Chop the leeks and toss them in melted butter. Add some salt and pepper for seasoning. Put the leeks into the bowl inside the pastry. Top the pudding with the remaining pastry.

To cook the pudding steam it. Cover the pastry top with greaseproof paper. Add tin foil on top of this and tie it with string. This will prevent the top getting wet and going soggy. Put the pudding basin into a bowl of water and bring to the boil. Steam the pudding for a couple of hours, making sure you keep an eye on the water level.

When ready turn the pudding out onto a plate. It will keep its shape and smell delicious. When you cut into the pudding the leeks come tumbling out, their delicate green colour a lovely contrast to the pastry. If you are not expecting them it is a surprise.

Leek pudding

Steaming the leek pudding in a cloth

As well as steaming the pudding in a pudding basin you can steam the leek pudding in a cloth or clootie. Traditionally the whole meal would have been cooked in the same water. Meat and other vegetables would boil in a string bag on the stove.

To steam the leek pudding in a cloth put the leeks on the rolled out pastry. Pinch the edges together making sure that the leeks are sealed in. Wrap the pudding in a damp floured cloth. Put the cloth in a pan of boiling water and boil for around two to three hours.

Can I cook leek pudding in the microwave?

Yes, you can cook leek pudding in the microwave instead of steaming it. Put the leek pudding into a greased pudding basin and cook for six to seven minutes in the microwave. Leave to stand for around a minute before tipping out onto a plate.

What to serve with leek pudding.

Leek pudding is a filling and satisfying dish and served with white sauce was the ideal accompaniment to a Sunday roast. It makes it look like you have made an extra effort to impress. Leek pudding is also perfect with mince, stew or just gravy.

Leek pudding should be better known, it is a great way to serve vegetables.

Leek Pudding Recipe

5 from 1 vote
Leek pudding
Leek Pudding
Prep Time
31 mins
Cook Time
2 hrs
Total Time
2 hrs 31 mins
 

Leek pudding is a suet pudding with a filling of leeks that comes from North East England. The perfect comfort food for winter

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: British
Keyword: leek
Servings: 4
Author: Alison Maclean
Ingredients
  • 230 g 8 oz self raising flour
  • 120 g 4 oz suet
  • 1 tbsp mustard
  • salt and pepper to season
  • water
  • 500 g 18 oz leeks
  • 100 g butter
Instructions
  1. Grease a pudding basin
  2. Mix together the flour, suet and mustard.
  3. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Add water a small amount at a time, mixing together until a dough is formed.
  5. Roll out the dough and use it to line the pudding basin, leaving enough to form a lid.
  6. Chop the leeks into small pieces.
  7. Melt the butter and toss the leeks in it.
  8. Add the leeks into the pudding basin and top with the rest of the dough.
  9. Cover the pudding basin with greaseproof paper and silver foil, tied with string.
  10. Place the basin into a bowl of water and bring to the boil.
  11. Cook for two hours, topping up the water from time to time.
  12. Turn out onto a plate.
Recipe Notes

Leek pudding is often served with mince, stew or just gravy. It is a very filling meal so perfect for a cold day

Why not pin the recipe for later?

Leek pudding: A traditonal recipe from North East England

Have you ever tried leek pudding? Let me know below.

Leek recipes to try

Leek and potato bake

Leek and potato bake is a delicious creamy meal which will warm you up and leave you feeling full. Find other ideas for recipes to cook with vegetables that in in season in February as a bonus.

Leek and potato bake

Get the recipe: Leek and potato bake

Leek and lamb cobbler

While it takes a little while to make it is worth the effort. This leek and lamb cobbler is a delicious hearty meal.

Leek and lamb cobbler

Get the recipe: Leek and lamb cobbler

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25 Comments

  1. May 12, 2015 / 2:09 pm

    I’ve never heard of Suet before…on my list of things to learn about because this looks beyond delicious!

    #TastyTuesdays

    .:Marta:.

    • May 13, 2015 / 9:33 am

      It is beef fat and used because it has a high melting point. I thought it was pretty universal, I wonder if it is a British thing

      • Pauline Cuthbert
        March 21, 2018 / 11:48 am


        Northeast England it was a favourite meal for coal miners and their families. It was very filling and very tasty.my mother used to pour mince and onion over the pudding what a delicious home cooked meal. We would also have potatoe and turnip mashed together also

  2. May 12, 2015 / 3:21 pm

    This sounds like my husband’s ideal dinner. I love leeks and I really don’t think that they are used enough.

  3. Polly Mixtures
    May 12, 2015 / 10:41 pm

    Times like now I wish I wasn’t gluten intolerant! Looks yum! #tastytuesdays

    • May 13, 2015 / 9:26 am

      Thank you. I wonder if you could wrap the leeks in something gluten free. Will have to think about that

  4. May 12, 2015 / 11:46 pm

    This is a new one on me and a lovely idea, I think it could be a meal on its own #TriedTested

  5. May 13, 2015 / 6:10 am

    Whenever I go looking for regional recipe, I come across loads with suet in them but you can’t get it over here ! This looks lovely and if you add cheese and bacon, it could be the centrepiece of the meal too 🙂

    • May 13, 2015 / 9:25 am

      How odd, I thought suet was fairly universal. Apparently you can freeze and grate lard and use that instead but never tried it so not sure how well it works

  6. May 13, 2015 / 6:06 pm

    I’m not sure I could bring myself to eat this – too many leeks for my liking :-/

  7. May 15, 2015 / 7:20 pm

    How delicious does that look, yum. Thanks for linking up to #tastytuesdays

  8. Lisamarie Pocza
    August 16, 2017 / 8:41 pm

    I was turned on to this recipe after watching a program about WWII era cooking. I had never tried a pudding before. Since finding cooking suet is difficult here in the States I went to a butcher shop, and rendered my own. I added potatoes and chicken. I thought I died and went to heaven!!

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