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Greek Rice Pilaf with Leeks and Saffron

Leek rice is one of the great vegetable rice main courses in the Greek kitchen. It's also a wonderful bed or accompaniment for protein, such as grilled salmon or Greek branzino, grilled chicken, and more. You can skip the cheese and make this a totally vegan and/or Lenten dish. To find some of the artisinal Greek products you'll need to make this, visit my online shop here, where you'll discover a host of lovingly curated Greek ingredients.
Course dinner, Lunch, starter
Cuisine Greek cuisine, Mediterranean diet
Keyword Greek saffron, leeks, pilaf
PREP TIME 5 minutes
COOK TIME 15 minutes


  • 5 cups vegetable stock
  • 6 - 8 Tbs. extra-virgin Greek 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
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 15 - 20 Kozani red saffron threads
  • 3 - 4 Tbs. grated Kasseri or other mild Greek or Mediterranean sheep's milk cheese


  1. Heat the stock in a pot and keep it aside, simmering.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.