Stuffed vegetable dishes are common in Mediterranean cuisine. Although stuffed grape leaves are also found in the cuisine of surrounding regions such as the Balkans, the Caucasus, Russia, Central Asia, and the Middle East, the Greeks claim the origin of this dish. It is said that when Alexander the Great besieged Thebes, food became so scarce that the Thebans cut whatever meat they had left into small pieces and stuffed in grape leaves.
This recipe gives you a very simple way to prepare a vegetarian version of this dish. The filling is made with cooked rice, pine nuts, and herbs. This dish is very suitable for parties and may be served as hors-d’oeuvres, side dish or main dish. These rolls can be consumed hot, cold or at room temperature.
This recipe takes about 45 minutes to make. Serves 10 to 12.
• 1 cup of round grain rice
• 1 cup of olive oil
• 2 large onions, finely chopped
• ½ tsp black pepper
• ½ tsp paprika
• 1 to 1 ¼ cup of water
• ½ cup of fresh lemon juice
• 1 tbsp pine nuts
• ½ cup of parsley, chopped
• 2 tbsp fresh dill, finely chopped
• 1 lime or lemon, thinly sliced
• 16 oz jar of grape leaves, drained and destemmed
To make the stuffing, pour oil in a pot.
Sauté the onion for 1 to 2 minutes over high heat.
Add pine nuts, black pepper, paprika, and just enough salt to taste. Continue sautéing for 1 to 2 minutes
Add rice, water, dill, and parsley. Mix it well.
Cover the pot and lower the heat to medium. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes.
Turn off the heat and pour in lemon juice
Stir it well and let it cool.
Lay a grape leaf on a plate with the vein side facing up.
Put about a tbsp of stuffing on the center of the leaf.
Fold the sides of the leaf to the center and roll. Make sure the roll is not too firm nor too loose.
Adjust the amount of stuffing depending on the size of the leaf.
Place some grape leaves at the bottom of the pot to prevent sticking and burning while you cook the rolls.
Drizzle some olive oil on top of the rolls.
Pour just enough water to cover the rolls.
arrange the lime or lemon slices on top.
put a plate on top and carefully press down.
Cover the pot and cook over medium heat for about 10 to 15 minutes.
Let the rolls cool to room temperature before serving.
Ideas And Tips:
• You may substitute the fresh dill with 1 tbsp of dried dill.
• If the grape leaves are tough and not pliable enough to roll, just boil them in water for about 10 to 15 minutes.
images – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ehjwZXdrf7E