White Wine Braised Leeks
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The perfect Vegetable Side dish needs to fulfil a few key criteria. It must taste amazing (of course!). It must provide a unique counter-flavor to the main being eaten to give the overall meal balance. Finally, it needs to bring something unique to the table, in terms of texture, appearance, etc. For all these reasons, our White Wine Braised Leeks may just be the best Vegetable Side dish you can eat. Rich, complex flavors of sweet and sour, a beautiful looking Vegetable on the plate, and a unique texture that only Leeks can provide. They’re also super easy to make! So, why not whip up a batch for your next meal

What makes these White Wine Braised Leeks so good is how easy they are to prepare

There’s something about braising dishes in the oven that is so rewarding. I think it’s something to do with that feeling of amazement that something you’ve prepared that has required such little work can come out of the oven looking and tasting so darn appealing! For such minimal effort, the amount of flavor this dish produces is truly phenomenal!

To make this wonderful dish requires so few steps. Simply prepare those beautiful leeks by cutting them into even pieces (more on that later). Give them a good wash to get any dirt out of the inside of the Leeks then pack as many of them as you can into a baking pan

Washing Leeks
Always wash your Leeks well to remove any dirt that may be hiding inside the layers of the Leek

Then, it’s simply a case of adding a couple of ingredients to add some flavors to the dish and into the oven it goes. Nothing could be simpler, and after about 40 minutes or so, you’ll be rewarded for your minimal effort with a beautiful, flavorful plate of wonderful White Wine Braised Leeks!

They’re the perfect vegetable side dish because while they’re in the oven braising away you can spend your time preparing the main course. So, if you’re frying up a Steak or some Fish, you can divert all your attention to that, knowing those Leeks are going to come out perfect

Cutting the Leeks, Lengthways or into circles?

The topic of huge debate in the Leek cutting community is what is the preferred way to cut your Leeks for braising. Ok, well, probably not a huge debate, but definitely one worth considering when preparing this dish

Our opinion on the matter is that either technique will work. The result will vary in terms of the overall eating experience, as well as the cooking time. Also, presentation will change quite dramatically

First the eating experience is quite different. When cooking the halved Leek pieces, they will have a naturally fibrous texture as you cut through each of those layers. The fibers will break down when being cooked but will still be there regardless of how long you cook them. It provides a unique texture that you can only get when eating Leeks in this way

Braised Leeks cut lengthwise
Cutting the Leeks lengthwise such as in this photo produces as amazing result. If you cut the Leeks into cylinders, the cook time will reduce slightly

The texture of the cylinder-cut Leeks will be very different. It’s almost like you’re staring straight into the inside of a tree, with all those wonderful layers being present in cylindric forms. The outside of the Leek will be more fibrous, and the inside lovely and tender

Presentation-wise, both are quite striking and have their own visual appeal. I prefer both presentations, so it really just comes down to which you prefer. Honestly though, from a plating perspective, it is much easier to plate the halved Leeks than the cylinder ones

Finally cooking time. The cylinder cut Leeks will take a little less time to cook. For our recipe we’ve used the lengthwise cutting approach. If you’re cooking the cylinders, we’d recommend shaving about 30% off the overall cook time

Braised Leeks in baking pan with seasoning
Add the Leeks to a baking pan along with some Butter, Paprika, Salt, and White Wine. That’s it!

We’re not fussy on what kind of Wine to use, we only suggest you pour a glass for yourself too

Some recipes will say you should only cook with dry Rieslings, or bright Sauvignon Blancs. We’re not subscribing to any mandates when it comes to wine in cooking other than 1 rule. Always cook with Wine that you yourself would be fine to drink. That’s our only rule!

If you enjoy how the wine tastes in the glass, then there’s a very good chance you’re going to enjoy how it tastes in your cooking. Never use cheap bottles of wine that you don’t like the taste of yourself. This theory has somehow made its way into peoples cooking vernacular that you should only use cheap, crappy wine in cooking. Looks, if its crap in the glass, it’ll be crap on the plate

Personally, I usually buy wines in the $15 – $20 range, but wines that I’ve had before and enjoy drinking. So, find an affordable bottle that you enjoy, and use that. The dish only requires about ½ a cup of Wine, so you’ve got the rest of the bottle to drink for yourself!

White Wine Braised Leeks with Panko Breadcrumbs
Topping the White Wine Braised Leeks with Panko Breadcrumbs gives a wonderful flavor and texture to the dish

Toasted Buttery Panko Breadcrumbs make the perfect topping to the White Wine Braised Leeks

One thing these delicious Leeks will need once they are cooked is some texture. Braised Leeks end up becoming so wonderful and tender once cooked using this technique, so they will benefit from adding a crunchy texture to the dish

You could go the route of adding some crushed nuts such as Almonds or Peanuts to the dish, however in our opinion the best texture for our Leeks comes by adding Toasted Panko Breadcrumbs. The larger of the breadcrumb family, Panko Breadcrumbs have a wonderful light flavor, and are extremely crunchy – even before they are toasted!

For the best result, melt a little bit of Butter into a pan and then add the Panko. Give them a good coating and toast for about 4 – 5 minutes over medium heat. You’ll notice that the Butter will absorb immediately into the Breadcrumbs, and they’ll start to change color

The more they cook, the darker they get. Once the breadcrumbs reach a beautiful golden-brown color then they’re done. Simply take them off the heat and set aside. Once your Leeks have finished cooking, simply sprinkle over a liberal amount of Breadcrumbs right before serving

White Wine Braised Leeks side dish
White Wine Braised Leeks are a fantastic vegetable side dish to pair with a hearty main course

What are some main courses that will pair well with White Wine Braised Leeks?

Thankfully this is such a versatile side dish that there are many meals that will work as a main course to pair with your Leeks. A classic pairing is with fried proteins such as Fish, or Meat. The richness of the fried protein will balance out perfectly with the sharpness of the Wine in these Leeks, making for harmony on the plate

We’ve got plenty of wonderful recipes that will pair well with these Leeks. Here are a few of our recommendations:

Recipe Details

Servings

4 people

Prep time

10 minutes

Cooking time

45 minutes

Total time

55 minutes

White Wine Braised Leeks Recipe

Ingredients

  • 3 Leeks
  • ½ cup of White Wine
  • ¼ cup Panko Breadcrumbs
  • 1 ½ tbsp. Unsalted Butter
  • 1 tsp. Smoked Paprika
  • Juice of ½ a Lemon
  • 1 tbsp. Chives, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp. Salt

Instructions

  1. Prepare the Leeks by trimming off the root base and the top where the Leaves start to sprout outwards. Cut the remaining piece into two even pieces, then cut lengthwise to halve them
  2. Rinse the Leeks well under cold running water by fanning open the individual layers (while keeping the Leek intact) to remove any dirt. Once clean, place the pieces cut side up in a large baking pan
  3. Pour the Wine into the Pan and then season the Leeks with Salt and Paprika. Break apart 1 tbsp. of Butter and distribute evenly across the Leeks. Cover with Foil, then place in the oven pre-heated to 430F
  4. While the Leeks are baking, melt the remaining Butter in a pot or frying pan over medium heat. Once melted, add the Panko Breadcrumbs and toast for 5 minutes, stirring frequently until golden brown. Once toasted, set them aside
  5. Bake the Leeks for 30 minutes, then drop the heat to 400F and remove the cover. Bake for a further 10 – 15 minutes until the Leeks start to caramelize slightly. Remove from Oven and season with the Toasted Panko Breadcrumbs, chopped Chives, and finishing Salt
  6. Squeeze over the Lemon Juice and serve immediately

That’s all there is to it! A simple recipe that produces absolute amazing White Wine Braised Leeks that will be perfect for your next meal

We’ve got many more delicious Vegetable Sides dishes here that we recommend you check out. Here are a few of our favorite Veggie Sides dishes:

Happy Cooking!

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