Vegetarian Christmas – Cheesy Leeks

January 12, 2012 5 Comments

Christmas time a stress-free meal needs proper planning. There is no such thing as luck – you have to make it happen. That’s why I decided early what to make for my small family on Christmas Eve. 
Christmas is a private, family holiday in Hungary, we don’t go to parties. The main Christmas celebrations take place on Christmas Eve. The evening is called Holy Evening. Most families decorate the tree together on 24 December, but some families keep the older tradition that tree should be a surprise for children who even believe it was bought by Baby Jesus and angels. Children enter the room only when the small tree bells ring and music arises. Gifts lay around the tree with small labels saying the name of someone in the family. Family-members sing Christmas songs together, then open their gifts and spend the night together. The menu for Christmas Eve is usually fish soup from carp, fried fish with potato salad or French fries. The traditional Hungarian Christmas dessert is called beigli. It’s a pastry roll filled with poppyseed or walnut and it can be made a few days, even a week before Christmas.
I’m vegetarian so we don’t make the traditional menu on this evening. We had cranberry and pistachio nut roast – a rich and savoury vegetarian dish -, mashed pumpkin potatoes with rosemary and also this cheesy leeks (recipe from Jamie Oliver) and a vegan stuffing (I’ll share the recipe with you soon). It was the best vegetarian Christmas dinner we ever had.

Cheesy Leeks

Ingredients (serves 4)

– 2 large leeks, trimmed and washed
– 2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
– 3 sprigs of thyme, leaves picked
– 100 ml cream
– 100 g cheddar, grated
– 100 g brie, cut into small pieces
– sea salt
– black pepper
– olive oil


Slice the leeks on an angle, about 2 cm thick. Put a pan on a medium heat and add 1-2 tablespoons olive oil, thyme and garlic. As things begin to bubble and fry (3-4 minutes), stir in the leeks. Leave to cook and check on it every few minutes to stir (make sure it doesn’t catch). After 10-15 minutes turn off the heat and add the rest of the ingredients (cream, brie, salt, pepper), stir and spoon it all into a baking dish, sprinkle over the cheddar. Pop in the oven and bake at 170-180C (350F) for 10-15 minutes until golden and bubbling.

More vegetarian Christmas recipes:
Mashed Pumpkin Potatoes with Rosemary
Cranberry and Pistachio Nut Roast
Pumpkin Pie

Comments (5)

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  1. Scrumptious! That is a perfect combination.



  2. These look delicious! I never know what to do with leeks so I usually put them in soup. Can’t wait to try this next time 🙂

  3. This bake looks amazing and I’ve been inspired to feature it in my Friday Food Fetish roundup. And I’ll be sharing on Pinterest. Please let me know if you have any objections and KEEP IT COMING!

  4. LyB says:

    This looks like such a wonderful side dish! And the nut roast sounds just delicious! I’m not vegetarian but I’m always looking to vary our meals. I’ll definitely be coming back for inspiration!

  5. Zita says:

    Rosa! Thank you for your nice comment!

    Heidi! Let me know how you liked it! 🙂

    JavelinWarrior! Sorry, but I haven’t been in front of the PC since Friday afternoon. I’ve just read your comment. Of course you can feature it in your Friday Food Fetish roundup, maybe next week!

    LyB! Vegetarian cuisine can be very inspirational for meat eaters! 🙂

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