Rice Pilaf with Leeks and Saffron

Leek rice is one of the great vegetable rice main courses in the Greek kitchen.
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Greece
Keyword: rice
Servings: 4


  • 5 cup vegetable stock
  • 6 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 large leeks finely chopped
  • 1 small fennel bulb finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove finely chopped
  • 1 cup Greek "glasé" or Greek Carolina rice
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • salt
  • 15 Kozani red saffron threads
  • 3 lb grated Kasseri or other mild Greek or Mediterranean sheep's milk cheese


  • Heat the stock in a pot and keep it aside, simmering.
  • In a large, deep skillet heat half the oil and sauté the leeks, fennel bulb, and garlic.
  • Add the rice and stir for 1 to 2 minutes. Lower the heat. Pour in half the wine and as soon as it steams off, add the remaining wine. When that is absorbed, add half a cup hot broth.
  • Continue to stir until all the liquid is absorbed.
  • Repeat the procedure until the rice is tender but al dente, using up most of the hot broth.
  • Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • About 5 to 6 minutes before removing the rice, mix the saffron with one tablespoon of hot broth and add it to the risotto.
  • Stir to distribute evenly. When the rice is ready, remove and stir in the grated Kasseri. Serve hot.

Photo credit and inspiration: dianekochilas.com