Last night was one of those “I really need to get to the grocery store” nights. I searched in the freezer and the fridge for ingredients for dinner, and I pulled out a package of already flattened chicken, carrots, leeks, and half a pint of grape tomatoes. Then I got creative.

I decided to make Chicken Picatta without the capers since I had lemons and fresh parsley in my garden. I needed side dishes. I chose to boil up half a box of corkscrew pasta and then add butter, Parmesan cheese and halved grape tomatoes.

I went online to see if I could find a side dish recipe that involved carrots and leeks and found one on Epicurious. It won over the few other carrot and leek recipes I found simply because I had all the ingredients.

After reading the comments of those that have already made the recipe, I chose to lessen the amount of red wine vinegar. To make up for the loss of liquid, I threw in a quarter cup of the dry white wine I was drinking with dinner. The commenters said that the vinegar taste was strong even after it had all evaporated, and I thought the boys might not like that. I ended up with a very nice side dish.

Here’s my recipe for braised carrots and leeks, adapted from the Epicurious recipe.


  • 3 medium leeks, well-washed (white and pale green parts only)
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 pound carrots, cut diagonally into 1-¼ inch pieces
  • 1-¼ cup water
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • ¼ cup dry white wine
  1. Cut the leeks in half length-wise, and then cut them in 1-inch pieces. Wash them well.
  2. Melt butter in a heavy skillet that’s large enough to hold all the vegetables.
  3. Sauté the leeks in the melted butter, salt and pepper for 5 minutes.
  4. Add the carrots, water, vinegar, and wine to the skillet. Cover.
  5. Simmer on medium heat for 25 minutes. Keep an eye on it toward the end to make sure all the liquid doesn’t evaporate.
  6. After 25 minutes, remove the lid, turn up the heat, and boil away any remaining liquid until it all evaporates (there shouldn’t be much).
My notes
  • Make sure you wash the leeks well. I didn’t do it well enough. My end result, while delicious, was a little gritty.
  • The wine I used was a Rkatsiteli from Amalthea Cellars in New Jersey. It’s a very earthy wine and complemented the root vegetables nicely. Don’t get too hung up on whatever wine you’re cooking with, though. Any dry white wine would have worked with this or even a slightly sweet wine – it would have brought out the sweetness in the carrots.

Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.

Seasonal recipes: Braised carrots and leeks
Two root vegetables simmer together while the rest of dinner is cooking to create a delicious side dish.