You are probably familiar with leeks as a mild member of the onion family (most commonly used in soups) that resemble large green onions in appearance. Sweet when cooked, I actually adore braising leeks with a little butter and white wine as a stand-alone side dish. Revered in French cuisine, leeks are often times used as a main ingredient classic dishes like leeks vinaigrette, vichyssoise, savory tarts and bread puddings, or even leeks mimosa.
For this side dish I sliced the leeks before sauteing them in a touch of butter along with freshly chopped sage; next I deglaze the pan with white wine and cook the leeks until fragrant and tender. Crispy cubes of pancetta are then added into the mix and the whole thing topped off with grated Gruyere cheese. Gruyere gives a wonderfully nutty flavor to the dish and since the leeks are still warm from the pan, the cheese slowly melts over everything.
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White Wine-Braised Leeks with Gruyere
- 4 leeks, root end trimmed, dark green stems removed–light green and white portion cut in half lengthwise, then thinly sliced
- 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
- salt and pepper
- 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh sage
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 4 oz. cubed pancetta, cooked
- Freshly grated Gruyere cheese, for serving
- After you slice the white and light green portion of the leeks, soak them in a bowl of water for about 10 minutes. Drain in a colander and rinse to make sure all of the grit and sand is removed.
- In a large saute pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add in the leeks and chopped sage; season with ½ teaspoon of salt and a big grinding of pepper. Sauté for 3-4 minutes or until they become tender. Add in the white wine and reduce the heat to medium low.
- Cook for an additional 5 minutes or until the liquid is reduced by half. Stir in the cooked pancetta. Serve e cooked leeks with a grating of Gruyere cheese.