This month our hostess, Lori of Lori’s Lipsmacking Goodness, has challenged The Daring Cooks to stuff grape leaves. Lori chose a recipe adapted from The New Book of Middle Eastern Food (a Borzoi Book by Claudia Roden, published by Alfred A. Knopf). This is an interpretation of that recipe.
Recipe: Mediterranean Stuffed Grape Leaves
- jarred grape leaves
- 2 tbs unsalted butter
- 1 1/2 tsp sugar
- 1 large onion – chopped
- 1 1/2 cups uncooked white jasmine rice
- 1/4 cup pine nuts
- 1/4 cup dried apricots – chopped
- 1/4 tsp allspice
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tbs dried mint
- 2 tbs fresh parsley – chopped
- kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper- to taste
- 3 cloves garlic – peeled
- 2/3 cup water
- 2/3 cup olive oil
- 1 lemon – juiced
- 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
- 3 tsp tamarind paste
- 1/2 lemon – juiced
- kosher salt – to taste
- freshly ground black pepper – to taste
- Set the grape leaves in a large shallow dish and pour boiling water over them to draw out the salt – let sit 20 minutes. Drain and rinse.
- Caramelize onions – in a medium-sized skillet melt butter over medium heat. Saute onions for 10 minutes. Add 1/2 tsp sugar and salt to taste. Lower heat to low-medium and continue to saute onions another 10 minutes. Try not to stir the onions too often. You want them to be soft and brown. Not fried. Lower the heat and stir as necessary.
- Pour boiling water over rice. Cover and let sit 5-10 minutes and drain.
- In a dry pan, gently toast pine nuts. Shaking the pan often so as not to burn the nuts.
- Combine rice, caramelized onions, toasted pine nuts, apricots, allspice, cinnamon, mint, parsley, salt and pepper.
- Assemble rolls. Lay a grape leaf flat. Mound a little bit of the rice mixture in the middle. Roll up from the bottom, folding in the sides as you go.
- Place the rolled and stuffed leaves in a saucepan. Make sure they fit tightly along the bottom in a single layer. Put the garlic cloves between some of the rolls.
- Combine water, olive oil, lemon juice and 1 tsp sugar. Pour over grape leaves in pot. Place a small heat-proof dish on top to keep rolls from unraveling. Simmer covered for an hour. Check periodically and add water if necessary.
- Uncover and off the heat after an hour.
- Let rolls cool and then refrigerate. Serve chilled with sauce.
- To make sauce: combine yogurt, tamarind, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a small bowl.