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Creamy Baked Leeks with Garlic, Thyme, and Parmigiano

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Serves 8

This simple recipe doesn’t require the cook’s attention at the last minute—but it will get the attention of your onion-loving guests. If possible, choose leeks that are all about the same size.

For more side dish recipes visit The Guide to Thanksgiving Dinner.

  • 1 tsp. unsalted butter
  • Kosher salt
  • 8 medium-large leeks (ideally with several inches of white)
  • 2 tsp. lightly chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 large cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
  • 1/3 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

Heat the oven to 350°F. Rub the bottom of a shallow 10x15-inch (or similar) rectangular baking dish with the butter. Sprinkle 1/4 tsp. salt over the bottom of the pan.

Cut the dark-green portion and all but about 1 inch of the light green off the top of the leeks. Peel away any tough or damaged outer leaves. Trim the ends by cutting the roots but leaving a bit of the base intact to hold the leek together. Cut each leek in half lengthwise. Gently wash each half under running water, fanning open the layers to rinse as thoroughly as possible. Pat the leeks dry and then arrange them cut side down in the baking dish. They should all fit snugly, but if they are crowded, turn a few on their sides. Sprinkle the thyme and 1/4 tsp. salt over the leeks.

Heat the cream and garlic in a small saucepan over high heat. As soon as the cream comes to a rolling boil (watch carefully and don’t let it boil over), remove the pan from the heat and let sit for 5 minutes. Pour the cream and garlic evenly over the leeks.

Cover the leeks with a piece of parchment cut to fit inside the pan.

Bake the leeks until the thickest ends are tender all the way through when pierced with a paring knife and the cream is almost entirely reduced, about 35 minutes. Sprinkle the leeks with the Parmigiano and salt to taste. Bake just until the cheese melts, an additional 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer the leeks to a warm serving platter.

Make Ahead Tips

You can wash and trim the leeks and arrange them in the buttered baking dish 6 hours ahead.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 170; Fat (g): fat g 12; Fat Calories (kcal): 110; Saturated Fat (g): sat fat g 7; Protein (g): protein g 2; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 3.5; Carbohydrates (g): carbs g 14; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 0.5; Sodium (mg): sodium mg 105; Cholesterol (mg): cholesterol mg 45; Fiber (g): fiber g 2;

Photo: Scott Phillips

Fantastic! I've made this or some variation (shitakes are a wonderful addition) every Thanksgiving since the recipe came out. A young friend called it "creamed onions for grown ups." guess I'm a grown up

This recipe is fantastic. I cut the leeks in half and accidently seperated them all. Still turned out great.

My husband and I loved this recipe.

I'll give this 5 stars because it tastes wonderful. However, I did have some problems with the recipe. For me, it required more time in the oven than indicated in the recipe, but that could just be my oven. The bigger problem though is that me and my guests all found it hard to cut into. (Although that didn't stop anyone from taking seconds or thirds). Those long pieces are a little challenging to cut into when you try to slice it on your plate. The second time I made it, I cut each long piece into a large chunk (needs to be big enough not to fall apart, but not too big because the goal is to try to avoid the cutting problem). It doesn't look as pretty, but it still tasted good. Luckily the recipe is yummy enough for "repeated tinkering/testing" until you hit on what works for you. I left off the Parm. cheese. I saved any leftover garlic/leek cream and used it to flavour mashed potatoes the next day. Dec 30: Made this again over the holidays and even had time to sprinkle with the Parm....good with or without. Adding this note because I think the perfect sized chunk is 3 - 3 1/2 inches long (before I did about 1 1/2-2 inches...too short).

I made this for Thanksgiving and it was a hit! I prepared each of the parts in advance - the leeks were cleaned, cut into smaller-sized chunks and laid out in the buttered pan, seasoned with the thyme; the garlic cream was cooked and poured into a separate bowl, and the cheese went in a baggie for transporting. When we arrived at our holiday destination, I poured the sauce over the leeks and covered with parchment, then baked as directed, only longer (approx. 1 hour?). Will definitely make again.

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