Stuffed Leeks

Stuffed Leeks is one of those dishes where simpler is better. All it takes is a little technique and a few ingredients. During Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, we eat certain foods to symbolize our prayers for a sweet new year. We bless and eat each of these foods before eating a big feast of a dinner. One of the blessings is leeks. Leeks (כרתי) symbolizes “to cut” or “כרת”. We bless the leeks in hopes that our enemies, haters, and those who wish evil upon us shall be “cut” down.

So in honor of this blessing, we always have stuffed leeks during our family Rosh Hashanah dinners. It’s a delicious way to make this blessing and to celebrate the holiday.

While food shopping, I found these humongous, gorgeous 23 inch long leeks that I had to buy to make this dish. When shopping for leeks, try to find leeks with a long white stem that is very thick in diameter–that is what you should be looking for. They come in different sizes, usually ranging from 14 inches to 23 inches length. Since I found large leeks, I only needed one leek to make this dish, but if you can only find the smaller sizes, then buy 2-3 to make this dish.


Stuffed Leeks

Serves: 4-5 people as an appetizer          Cooking Time: 2 1/2 hours

1 large leek (23″) or 2 small leeks (14″ each)

Pot of boiling water

1 1/2 cup ground chop meat (beef)

1/2 cup medium grain white rice

1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil (you will use 1/4 cup at a time)

Salt & pepper

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 lemon, juiced

1 tablespoon brown sugar

Boil a pot of water. Cut top off the leek and use white stem only. You can discard the top or you can save it and make this delicious Leek Omelet. Place the white part of the leek horizontally and cut into 3-4 inch wide pieces (if you have small leeks you may only need to cut it one time). Then cut each of them down the middle, halfway–DO NOT cut all the way through–see images above. Place the leeks into boiling water until the leaves start to separate–about 2 minutes. You don’t want to cook them too much, you just want to make sure they are soft enough to work with when rolling the meat into them. Take the leeks out of the boiling water and rinse them with cold water to stop the cooking process.

In a bowl, mix together the chop meat, rice, 1/4 cup canola or vegetable oil, salt, and pepper. Mix together lightly with your hands until all ingredients are incorporated evenly.

Clear a countertop and prepare to fill the leeks. I used a rectangular 10×13 inch baking dish. When you roll each leek, you will immediately place them one by one into the baking dish. You do not need to oil the baking dish prior to filing it with stuffed leeks.

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Take each piece of leek and flatten it onto flat surface. Place 1 teaspoon of meat into the middle of the leek and roll up as tightly as you can. Place into the baking dish lined up like soldiers (two rows). Continue this process until all leeks are filled.  Once you get to the smaller and more challenging roll up pieces of leek, you can layer two pieces and roll them up together like in the image above. I usually only make one layer of leeks but you can make additional layers if you prefer.

Now that all the leeks are filled and beautifully lined up in your baking dish, fill up the baking dish with water. There needs to be enough water it in that it is covering the leeks completely. Add 1/4 cup canola or vegetable oil, add salt and pepper. Cover the baking dish with foil and place into 350°F oven for one hour.

After one hour had passed, take out the baking dish and carefully open the foil (hot steam will come out so be careful not to burn yourself). Some water will be evaporated. Sprinkle the cinnamon and lemon juice over the leeks. Place the brown sugar into the corners of the baking dish–a little into each corner. The brown sugar will melt and distribute on its own.

Place into the oven for one more hour, uncovered this time.  The leeks will be a little caramelized once done. Carefully take out each piece, making sure not to break them. Plate them and serve!

Enjoy and please share any comments or questions you may have. I would love to see how yours turns out! Make sure to tag me @lizskosherkitchen if you share it on social media so I can see your masterpiece!

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