Braised Leeks with Tomatoes and Balsamic Vinegar


When leeks are cooked slowly in this way, a lovely sweet, mellow flavour emerges, which is enhanced in this recipe by the almost syrupy juices of tomatoes, balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Serve this with roast meats, chicken or game.


  • 500 g (1 lb) thin leeks, trimmed (retain as much of the green part as possible) and halved lengthwise
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons fennel or dill seeds
  • 2 large tomatoes, skinned
  • Sea salt
  • Black pepper


Lay the leek halves in a heavy, fairly shallow flameproof casserole, respectable-looking enough to be brought to the table. Add the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, fennel or dill seeds and a sprinkling of sea salt and plenty of black pepper.

Chop up the tomatoes thoroughly and spoon the tomatoes and any juicy mush on top of the leeks roughly, but don’t mix in. Sprinkle with a little more salt and pepper. Cover the casserole and cook over a very low heat for about 30 minutes, or until the leeks are very soft indeed. Remove the lid of the casserole, increase the heat and bubble fiercely until the juices are thick and syrupy. Serve in the casserole.