I refer to these vegetarian stuffed grape leaves as my 'yuppie' version. The local Sephardim make a very soft rice and parsley filled grape leaf that is very lemony. They are generally called yaprakes. In the early years of catering, I make this version after finding it in Joan Nathan's "Jewish Cooking in America".
Taking them to Ezra Bessaroth for a Kiddush lunch, a line forms to the kitchen afterward. They are the resident experts telling me that I really need to learn to make a stuffed grape leaf! In addition to all the 'extra' ingredients, I'm short on the lemon. I offer both types on my menus these days.
Roland brand makes a stuffed grape leaf which is sold in a can. It is pretty popular as an affordable option. Mine, made with more lemon juice than the original, is not available in a can. It is a fabulous stuffed grape leaf if you aren't looking for what your Sephardic grandmother used to make! (But, I can make those too!)
It is hard to know how many of these we've made over the years. Lots, by the hundreds. Scaling back recipes for home use gives me pause. Being accustomed to making things in such massive quantities, it is hard to fathom that anyone would do these in a small batch. No sooner are they started and the project is finished. No meditation time. I'd suggest that you make more than you need and freeze some to bake later. We do it all the time.
|Number of servings:|
|Main Ingredient(s):||Rice - Short Grain White, Grape Leaves|
|Skill Level:||2 (1 Easy - 5 Hard)|
|Estimated POINT value:|
- 2 cups diced white onions
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 3/4 cups raw basmati rice
- 1/3 cup chopped parsley
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
- 1 1/2 tablespoons dried mint
- 1/4 cup currants
- 2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
- 2 tablespoons apricot jam
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon cumin
- 1 large bottle grape leaves (about 40 leaves)
- 1/2 cup lemon juice
Dice onions into small pieces. Heat olive oil in frying pan and add onions and rice. Saute until onions are soft and remove from the heat.
Chop parsley and mint. Add to onion and rice mixture.
Add remaining ingredients except for the grape leaves and lemon juice.
Mix all the ingredients together and set aside.
Rinse and separate grape leaves, trim the stem with scissors.
Lay grape leaf flat on work surface with the under side of leaf facing up. Add a tablespoon of filling to the lower third of the leaf.
Fold the bottom of the leaf over the filling.
Fold the sides over making the leaf about 2" wide.
Roll up and repeat to use up the filling.
Line the bottom of the pan with plastic wrap. Top with a layer of grape leaves if you have extras leftover.
Place stuffed grape leaves, seam side down, in an 8" x 8" baking pan in layers. Keep space between each to allow for expansion while cooking.
If you need to make a second layer, lay leaves in the opposite direction.
Add water to just cover the grape leaves. Cover with a layer of flat grape leaves if you have any leftover. Cover with a layer of plastic wrap. It is okay to bake with the plastic wrap on the pan.
Cover the pan with foil.
Bake for 1 hour at 350'. Remove from the oven and open the foil and plastic wrap. Pour the lemon juice over the leaves. Reseal and return to the oven for another 15 minutes.
Remove from the oven. Leave covered until ready to serve. Platter and garnish with lemon zest and parsley or mint leaves. Squeeze additional lemon juice over the grape leaves and serve.
And that is how you make Kosher Vegetarian Stuffed Grape Leaves!
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Vegetarian Stuffed Grape Leaves
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