Leeks Braised with Thyme
Braised leeks are meltingly creamy with a delicate flavor that is wonderful alongside so many things. The butter, liquids and herbs can be switched out to suit your meal or mood. Adding chopped apples to the leeks and substituting apple cider for part of the liquid adds a nice sweet note that is particularly wonderful with halibut or poultry. Or finish with chopped fresh tarragon and a squeeze of fresh lemon to serve with cous cous or salmon.
- 4-6 leeks
- 3-4 Tbsp unsalted butter or olive oil
- 1 1/2 cups white wine or stock, or combination of both
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Cut off and discard the tops of the leeks at the point they turn from light to dark green. Slice through the shank of the leek lengthwise until you get to the root end—do not cut through the root. Rinse thoroughly.
- Once the leeks are free of any dirt or grit, cut off the root and cut through the base to make 4 long pieces for each leek. Cut the leeks in half or thirds crosswise so that you have 4”-5” lengths. If your leeks are really thick you may want to cut the pieces lengthwise again.
- Melt butter in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the leeks and cook, stirring often, until they are softened and beginning to brown, about 10 minutes.
- Add half of the wine or stock and cook until most of the liquid evaporates.
- Add the thyme, salt and pepper and stir well. Deglaze pan with remaining wine or stock and simmer, covered, on low heat for another 30-45 minutes, until leeks are very tender. Alternatively, if you are using a covered, oven-proof pan, you can finish in a 325° oven.
Serves 6-8 as a side. Make ahead: Leeks can be prepared up to two days ahead. Reheat in the oven or on the stove over low heat.