Ian’s Buttered Leeks

Ian’s Buttered Leeks

“I remember, when they were young, auld John told Ian it was his job to stand to Jamie’s right, for he must guard his chief’s weaker side in a fight. And he did— they took it verra seriously, the two of them. And I suppose auld John was right, at that,” she added, snipping off the excess thread. “After a time, nobody would fight them, not even the MacNab lads. Jamie and Ian were both fair-sized, and bonny fighters, and when they stood shoulder to shoulder, there was no one could take the pair o’ them down, even if they were outnumbered.”

She laughed suddenly, and smoothed back a lock of hair behind her ear.

“Watch them sometime, when they’re walking the fields together. I dinna suppose they even realize they do it still, but they do. Jamie always moves to the left, so Ian can take up his place on the right, guardin’ the weak side.”

Diana Gabaldon, Dragonfly in Amber (Chapter 33 – Thy Brother’s Keeper)


Leeks are in season across most of the northern hemisphere at the moment, and I can think of no better way to serve them in all their glory. Fresh out of the pan and sitting beside a roast chicken or beef, don’t be surprised if these unassuming babies emerge from the shadows to become dinner’s star.

If there are any leftover, finely chop and stir into butter for the next night’s steak, stuff them into a nice fresh trout before frying, or add them to a pot of homemade soup bubbling on the stove.

Ian’s Buttered Leeks

Tender, mild leeks simmered gently in their own juices. The perfect dish to guard the main’s weaker side.

Serves 4

  • Leeks, white and light green parts only – 4 to 5 medium
  • Butter – 3 Tble
  • Fresh Thyme – 1 sprig
  • s+p

Thinly slice leeks on a diagonal. Rinse thoroughly in cold water. Dry in a clean dish towel or salad spinner.

Melt butter in a large pan over medium heat. Add sliced leeks, thyme and salt and pepper. Stir to coat well with butter. Cover, reduce the heat to low and cook until tender, about 15 minutes, stirring once halfway through.

Serve hot, alongside your favourite main. Store leftovers, covered, in the fridge for up to 3 days.


  • Use white pepper to avoid black specks that will mar the gorgeous green of the leeks.



I am a professional chef, a food writer and an unabashed fan of Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series.


  1. Jennifer

    This is one of my favourites of Ian and Jamie. It just makes me feel wonderful to read it.
    Leeks are awesome, especially in soup!


    • Theresa

      I love Ian and Jamie too, Jennifer! Their time together is always too short!


  2. Christiane

    Hello Theresa ! It has been a long time since I posted something. How are you ? Leeks are one of my favorite green vegs, they are delicious in soups yes ; I sometimes just cook them “à la vapeur” (steam) and eat them as a salad with a little olive oil and lemon juice or a few drops of balsamic vinegar. The “fondue de poireaux” (=leeks) is my fav with a little fresh cream. Christiane


  3. claudia Lewis

    Must fix these. Going to farmers market Saturday


  4. Chris bent

    Bought some leeks today! I will be making these tomorrow for dinner with a roasted chicken (just like your picture!). I hope they turn out as lovely as yours!


    • Theresa

      Wonderful! They’re easy, peasy, Chris. You’ll love them!


  5. Linda Strate

    My friends loved the shortbread. It’s very tasty and easy to make. I’m going to try the leeks. I like the short list of ingredients for a recipe. There is a good chance I have most of them at home. Nice to here how the recipes relate to the Outlander books & show.


    • Theresa

      Glad they liked it, Linda…and enjoy the leeks — they’re a favourite around here!


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