Braised Leeks

November 12, 2018
3 Ratings
Photo by Rocky Luten
  • Prep time 20 minutes
  • Cook time 50 minutes
  • Serves 12
Author Notes

My parents grow leeks in their garden every year with this dish—a classic at our family's Thanksgiving feast—in mind. They like to allow for one leek per person, and the recipe can be easily adjusted to be made bigger or smaller. The leeks get cooked in a small amount of broth and a touch of butter until very tender; this can largely be done by eye. They plump up with juiciness from the broth, and the resulting dish, simple and humble though it may be, is one of my most favorite things on our holiday table. —Erin Jeanne McDowell

Test Kitchen Notes

Featured in: The Thanksgiving Dish My Parents Spend Months Preparing. —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • 12 fat leeks, washed very well
  • 2 cups broth (we use turkey or chicken, but you could definitely use vegetable to make this vegetarian-friendly)
  • 3 teaspoons unsalted butter, divided
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 5 to 6 thyme sprigs
  • Fresh snipped chives (optional)
  1. Cut away the dark green parts of the leek (my parents compost this, but it can also be cleaned well and used to make broth). Trim the leeks so that only the lightest green part and the whole white part remain. Trim the bulb end to remove any roots, but keep the bulb end in tact (don’t just lob off the whole end, trim closely).
  2. Cut the leeks in half vertically, leaving about 1 inch in tact on the bulb end. Wash the inside of the leeks well and pat dry. (The leeks can be prepped up to this point, and wrapped in damp paper towels and stored in zip-top plastic bags for up to 5 days.)
  3. Arrange the leeks in a large skillet or pot that has a lid. Pour the broth over the leeks, and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Put the lid on the skillet, reduce heat to medium low, and simmer the leeks for 12 to 15 minutes.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter a large casserole dish with 1 tablespoon butter. Arrange the leeks in a single layer, or overlapping only slightly, in the prepared casserole dish. Pour the broth over them. Dot the surface with the remaining 2 tablespoons butter, and season with salt and pepper.
  5. Add the sprigs of thyme to the casserole dish, then transfer to the oven. Cook until the leeks are very tender, 30 to 35 minutes. Garnish with chives just before serving, if desired. Serve warm.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Hmoshman
  • Mike Sidman
    Mike Sidman
  • Carlynn Houghton
    Carlynn Houghton
  • Theresia Andrews-Maas
    Theresia Andrews-Maas
I always have three kinds of hot sauce in my purse. I have a soft spot for making people their favorite dessert, especially if it's wrapped in a pastry crust. My newest cookbook, Savory Baking, came out in Fall of 2022 - is full of recipes to translate a love of baking into recipes for breakfast, dinner, and everything in between!

6 Reviews

Hmoshman October 10, 2022
I thought these were ok. You need to use a sharp knife to be able to eat them in bites.
Carlynn H. November 29, 2019
Big Thanksgiving success with these. Everyone loved them! A nice mild, flavorful side with all the heavy Thanksgiving foods.
Mike S. January 2, 2019
I finally made this and thought it was delicious! I have a question, though: in the recipe photo, the leeks look almost crispy and the stock is all gone. When I made the leeks, they were still swimming in stock at the end and had a very mushy texture. Is that how they are supposed to be?
Theresia A. January 2, 2019
I think there is still some “juice” left in the photo of the dish. Mine had some liquid too. I used it to add to a soup....
Theresia A. December 8, 2018
This was absolutely delicious! The leeks were tender and sweet. A great dish to go with the holiday table.
Ari November 24, 2018
Simple and delicious! The leftovers I diced and scrambled with eggs the next morning, which was wonderful too.