A touch of heavy cream, a few garlic cloves and thyme sprigs round out the flavor of tender braised leeks with chicken in this recipe. The rich, silky sauce is wonderful over whole-wheat egg noodles or mashed potatoes. Leeks grown in the garden and those that you find at the store can be vastly different in size. Garden leeks tend to be smaller, so if you’re using leeks from the garden, make sure you pick enough to fill up the pan.
- 8 medium or 4 large leeks
- 2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
- 6 cloves garlic, halved
- 6 sprigs fresh thyme
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (5-6 ounces each), trimmed and tenders removed (see Note)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, divided
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
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- Preheat oven to 425°F.
- Trim roots and dark green tops from leeks, leaving 5 to 6 inches of white and light green parts. Cut the leeks in half lengthwise (or in quarters, if large); rinse well. Place the leeks in a single layer in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish, on their sides if necessary, nestling them together. Pour in broth; submerge the garlic and thyme in the broth between the leeks.
- Bake the leeks for 40 minutes.
- After about 30 minutes, sprinkle chicken with 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat; add the chicken and cook until golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes per side. Remove from the heat.
- After 40 minutes, remove the leeks from the oven and nestle the chicken into them. Add cream and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt to the hot skillet (but do not turn the burner back on). Stir up any browned bits and let the cream heat up from the warmth of the pan. Pour the cream mixture over the leeks and chicken.
- Return the baking dish to the oven and bake until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of a breast registers 165°F, 10 to 15 minutes. Serve the chicken with the braised leeks, spooning the sauce over both.
Tips & Notes
- 1. Note: It’s difficult to find an individual chicken breast small enough for one portion. Removing the thin strip of meat from the underside of a 5-ounce breast—the chicken tender—removes about 1 ounce of meat and yields a perfect 4-ounce portion. Wrap and freeze the tenders and when you have gathered enough, use them in a stir-fry or for oven-baked chicken fingers.
Per serving: 356 calories; 18 g fat (8 g sat, 7 g mono); 119 mg cholesterol; 16 g carbohydrates; 0 g added sugars; 32 g protein; 2 g fiber; 666 mg sodium; 542 mg potassium.
Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin A (39% daily value), Vitamin C (23% dv), Iron (18% dv), Folate (17% dv), Potassium (15% dv).
Carbohydrate Servings: 1
Exchanges: 2 vegetable, 4 lean meat, 2 fat