Friday, October 19, 2007

In The Kitchen With Kelly: Grape Leaves

I have a friend who loves stuffed grape leaves, but insists that they're one of those "old man" foods like prunes and turnips. I honestly didn't know what they were until a few years ago, and tried my first one last year at the M Room. Some of the better places to order 'em? Estia, Alyan's, Saad's Halal (my top falafel), The Royal Tavern, most Mediterranean places, and quite a few pubs.

"Dolmas" are actually easy enough to make yourself, when you find a decent vegan recipe.

Stuffed Grape Leaves

Makes 2 dozen

2 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 cup long-grain white rice
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley, no stems
1 tbsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 16 oz. jar preserved grape leaves, rinsed and patted dry
1/4 cup lemon juice

Saute onion in oil for 5 minutes, then stir in rice and pine nuts. Continue to saute for 3 minutes. Add one cup of water. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in parsley. Season with salt and pepper.

Cut tough stems from grape leaves. Line a large pot with 3 or 4 leaves. Place parsley stems on bottom.

Place on grape leaf smooth side down on work surface and set heaping teaspoon of filling near base of stem end of leaf. Fold end and sides over filling, and roll toward leaf point. Set seam-side down in pot. Repeat with remaining leaves and filling. Pack them close and layer one on top of another.

Add lemon juice and 1 cup of water, cover with 3 grape leaves, and invert heatproof plate on top to hold in place. Cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 45 minutes. Remove from heat, and let stand 2 hours, or until liquid is absorbed. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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