Leeks are one of our favorite alliums. They’re mild, earthy, and sweet, and they bring a lovely, aromatic flavor to everything from soup to savory tarts to pasta. It’s a rare day indeed that leeks get to shine all on their own, but here, we’ve given them the starring role in a simple, rustic braise.
We first brown the leeks in olive oil and butter to deepen their wonderful flavor. Then, we season them with salt, black pepper, and fresh thyme, and deglaze the pan with white wine. After about 20 minutes of simmering in veggie broth, the leeks turn out bright and perfectly tender, with a slight richness from the butter and just a hint of that floral thyme. In other words, the dish is decidedly leek-forward — even the remaining broth gets infused with the leeks’ savory-sweet flavor.
For the finishing touch, we add a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese. The little, freshly grated flakes melt over the warm alliums and add a subtle nuttiness to each bite. Altogether, it’s a rather pared-down side, but it still feels fancy in a French-countryside sort of way. We love serving these leeks with a nice, juicy steak — an elevated take on the classic steak and onions — but they’re also fantastic alongside an herb-crusted roast chicken.
2 Tbsp unsalted butter, divided
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided
6 large leeks, trimmed, halved lengthwise, rinsed, and dried
½ tsp kosher salt
½ tsp freshly ground Gelson’s black pepper
½ tsp Gelson’s organic fresh thyme leaves
¼ cup dry white wine
1 cup vegetable stock
⅓ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for garnish
In a large skillet, melt 1 Tbsp butter and 1 Tbsp olive oil over medium-high heat. Cook until the butter foams, then add half the leeks, cut-side down. Cook for 5 minutes, or until browned. Flip and cook for 2 minutes more. Transfer the leeks to a plate and set aside. Repeat with the remaining butter, olive oil, and leeks.
Return all of the leeks to the skillet, cut-side up, and sprinkle them with the kosher salt, black pepper, and thyme.
Add the white wine and deglaze the skillet, then allow the wine to cook off, about 2 minutes. Add the vegetable stock, bring to a simmer, cover, and cook for 20 minutes on low heat, or until the leeks are tender when pierced with a fork.
Transfer the leeks and braising liquid to a serving platter, or leave them in the skillet, and top with Parmesan cheese. Serve hot.