Cook-Along Recipe for an Easy Vegetable Side Dish: Braised Leeks

by Anne Maxfield on January 28, 2011

Accidental Locavore LeeksThis week’s cook-along recipe is for a easy vegetable side dish, braised leeks. Working from the biggest cookbooks the Accidental Locavore owns, this week’s cook-along recipe for braised leeks comes from an old favorite, Julia Child’s The Way to Cook. I was looking for an interesting side dish recipe to go with cassoulet, and thought braising greens, something like leeks or endives would be a nice homey vegetable that would work with the richness of the cassoulet. You can use the technique on lots of different vegetables, some classics include celery, and endives. For 6 servings. Adapted from The Way to Cook.

  • 6 large or 12 small leeks (1-2 per person)
  • Water, chicken or vegetable broth
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 or more tablespoons butter

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter an oven proof baking dish big enough tho hold the leeks. Prepare the leeks for cooking: trim the root ends of the leeks being careful to keep the leaves intact. Cut the tops of the leeks, leaving them about 6-7″ long. Cut in half lengthwise, fan the leaves out and wash thoroughly under cold running water. My leeks were amazingly dirty, so really take care washing them. Arrange the leeks cut side down in the buttered baking dish. Add the water or broth to come halfway up the side of the leeks, salt lightly, and dot with about a tablespoon of butter. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30-40 minutes until tender. When they are done, you can reduce the braising liquid, enrich it with a little butter at the end, and pour over the leeks, or just serve them straight from the baking dish. Enjoy!

My rating: 3 stars. Mostly because while working on the cassoulet, I let the leeks hang out a little long on their own. Could have reduced the braising liquid, but didn’t have the time. They were fine and with a little closer attention from the cook, would have been really good. You can also let them cook down and serve with a little vinaigrette, or reduce the cooking liquid, and top with some breadcrumbs toasted with butter, or a little Parmesan cheese.

For the rest of my diners, what did you think?

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