Braised leeks with Parmesan, cooked in a white wine reduction, make a beautiful and easy side dish that is ready in 20 minutes!Jump to Recipe
What are leeks?
If you haven’t started cooking with leeks yet now is the time! Abundant in the spring and summer months, especially at Farmers Markets, leeks are like onions cooler cousin, and they are available year round They look like big overgrown scallions and are in the same family as shallots, onions, and garlic.
Leeks add a complex flavor to any dish and have a more mellow flavor than onions and shallots.
Leeks are best cooked because they have a somewhat harsh flavor when raw. They take on a buttery taste when braised. If using raw, in salads, be sure to chop into small pieces because they are fibrous.
The edible part is the white base and the light green part of the stalk. Leeks are delicious added to soups and the long cooking time makes them tender.
How to Clean Leeks:
Leeks are dirty! In culinary school, one of my instructors told us that the sure sign of a “rookie chef” was sandy leeks!
Be sure to properly clean the leeks using this method:
- Cut off the dark top of leek stalks
- Trim the root
- For this recipe, cut the stalk lengthwise all the way through but don’t cut through the root, turn halfway and cut again. This allows the leaves to be exposed for cleaning
- Run the leeks under running water to remove all the dirt and sand
- If using for soups or stews, cut like a coin and soak in a bowl of clean water to remove sand and dirt
How to make braised leeks with Parmesan:
- Clean leeks, dry and cut through the root. Trim to use the white and light green parts of the leeks.
- Cut into 2-3″ long segments
- Heat butter in a large saute pan over medium heat
- Add garlic and saute for 1 minute until garlic begins to smell fragrant
- Next, add the leeks and stir to coat with butter
- Add water, wine, thyme, salt, and pepper. Stir gently to combine
- Cover pan, reduce heat to medium-low and slowly braise the leeks to soften. It’s important to cook leeks slowly.
- Check halfway through cooking to make sure there is enough liquid. If not add a small amount of water.
- The leeks should be cooked through in about 15-18 minutes
- Uncover and sprinkle with Parmesan. Cover and cook for one more minute to melt the Parmesan
What goes well with leeks?
Leeks taste great served alongside any chicken or fish dish. They also pair well with many types of cheese, so beyond Parmesan, you could top with Gruyere or crumbled goat cheese.
Looking for other easy side dishes?
- Grilled Artichokes with Lemon Dill Aioli
- Spicy Szechuan Green Beans
- Asian Coleslaw with Peanut Dressing
- Spanish Rice
- Roasted Butternut Squash with Goat Cheese and Pomegranate
Braised Leeks with Parmesan
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1 tsp garlic, chopped
- 3 large leeks
- ⅓ cup dry white wine
- ⅓ water
- 2 tbsp parmesan, shredded
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme, stripped of stems
- Trim dark green top of leeks, trim the root, then cut the leeks lengthwise. Be sure to wash very well as leeks are sandy. Pat Dry.
- Heat large saute pan over medium heat and melt butter. Add garlic and cook for about 1 minute. Add leeks and stir to coat with butter.
- Add water, wine and, thyme. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook for 15-18 minutes, or until leeks are softened. Add more water if needed.
- Sprinkle with Parmesan and cover for one minute until cheese melts, and serve.