How to Make Braised Leeks – A Great Side Dish!
I didn’t used to have much time for leeks, other than as an addition to soups, really.
But then a friend turned me on to the idea of leeks as a side dish, and once I got a handle on this easy but incredibly good braised leek side dish – well there’s no turning back!
Braised leeks are soft and rich and delicate and their hint of earth and onion makes than a perfect side to everything from fish to chicken to pork and beef – these pretty much go well with everything.
Here’s a recipe for beautiful braised leeks, that are good enough on their own, but if you want to take things one step further – and get a little decadent – you can turn these into an au gratin dish at the end by simply transferring the braised sliced leeks to a baking dish, topping with a little fresh parmesan or gruyere cheese, and passing under the broiler until the cheese is bubbly and browned.
How to Make Braised Leeks
This recipe is a classic French preparation
- A couple of bunches of leeks (a couple of pounds – but the exact quantity isn’t crucial here, just use enough for your family)
- ¼ cup of butter
- 1/3 cup of water or homemade chicken stock
- Salt and freshly cracked pepper
- Trim the green leafy tops off the leaks, leaving only the white bottom and a bit of the pale green top part.
- Sand and grit can get trapped between the layers of each leek, so it’s important to wash each one thoroughly, by cutting deeply into the white part of each leek lengthwise, and then running each leek well under running water, so that the water can rinse through the internal layers of the leek.
- Cut each leek into 1 or 2 inch segments and add to a heavy Dutch oven or oven proof casserole dish. Whatever you use, heavier is better, and a tight fitting lid is essential. If your lid doesn’t fit well, then use aluminum foil to create a seal. If you’re not familiar with braising as a technique, read Easy Steps to Better Braising Every Time to learn how to become a braising pro!
- To the casserole dish with the leek segments, add the butter and the water or stock and a couple of pinches of salt and few cracks of pepper - and then cover tightly.
- On the stovetop, bring to a very gentle simmer and then let it braise, on low or medium low heat (just enough heat to barely keep things simmering) for 40 minutes or so, or until very tender.
- Serve with a little of the liquid from the braising dish spooned over the top of each serving of leeks.
That’s it - Easy and very tasty.