White Wine Braised Leeks
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Chances are, you’ve never really given leeks much thought. Sure, you could use them as a flavorful addition to a side dish—but when given a little TLC, they shine on their own. These white wine braised leeks (from Alexis Debschnek’s To the Last Bite) are proof.
“Sure, leeks take a few minutes to clean,” she writes, “but it’s worth it. Braised in butter and white wine and steeped in garlic and thyme, these leeks become so tender they almost melt in your mouth. Serve them as a side dish all on their own, or chop them up and add to one pound of cooked pasta for an easy weeknight meal.”
Excerpted from To the Last Bite by Alexis Deboschnek. Copyright © 2022. Reprinted by permission of Simon & Schuster, Inc. All rights reserved.
4 to 5 medium leeks
¼ cup raw walnuts
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup dry white wine, such as sauvignon blanc or pinot grigio
1½ cups vegetable or chicken stock
3 garlic cloves
4 sprigs thyme
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
Flaky sea salt
1. On a cutting board, trim the root end and dark leek tops. Slice the leeks in half lengthwise and remove any tough outer leaves. Run the leeks under cold water to wash out any soil, keeping the leeks intact. Line a cutting board with paper towels. Transfer the leeks to the paper towel–lined cutting board to dry completely.
2. Heat a large stainless steel or cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add the walnuts and toast, stirring occasionally, until the walnuts smell fragrant, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate to cool to room temperature, then roughly chop and reserve for later.
3. Add 3 tablespoons of butter to the same pan over medium-high heat. Once the butter melts, add the leeks, cut side down, and cook until golden brown, about 3 minutes.
4. Using tongs, carefully flip the leeks and season with the salt and pepper. Cook the leeks until the other side is golden brown, about 3 minutes more.
5. Add the wine to the pan and cook, without stirring, until you can no longer smell the alcohol, about 1 minute.
6. Add the stock, garlic and thyme and bring to a simmer. Place a lid on the pan and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook until a knife can easily pierce the leeks without any resistance, 15 to 20 minutes.
7. Carefully remove the leeks, leaving the liquid in the pan, and set them on a serving plate. Discard the thyme.
8. Return the pan to medium-high heat. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter and the vinegar and cook the liquid until reduced by half, about 3 minutes.
9. Pour the sauce over the leeks and sprinkle with flaky sea salt and the reserved toasted walnuts. The leeks can be stored in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.