Re: Middle Eastern
posted at 8/1/2012 1:33 PM EDT
Rice-Stuffed Grape Leaves
My stuffed grape leaves, called yalanchi in Turkish, are tarter and lighter-tasting than most recipes. The secret is to use slightly less olive oil and a lot more lemon juice.
My mother-in-law taught me to line the pot with carrot strips. Carrots add a subtle sweetness to the stuffed leaves, and once cooked, make a delicious bonus dish.
Serve stuffed grape leaves when entertaining large numbers of family and friends. They are also an important no-meat Lenten dish.
100 grape leaves, 4 bundles of small-sized leaves (page 28)
1 1/4 cups olive oil
1/4 cup water
8 large onions, chopped
1 1/2 cups short-grain white rice or medium-grain bulgur
2 bunches fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
2-3 tablespoons snipped fresh dill
2 tablespoons dried mint
Juice of 4 lemons
2-4 carrots, cut into long strips
2-3 lemons, cut in wedges
Fresh flat-leaf parsley sprigs
1) If using store-bought leaves, rinse them several times in water, draining each time. If using fresh or frozen grape leaves, plunge leaves in boiling salted water until the color darkens to olive, about 1 minute.
Remove immediately, rinse with cold water, and drain.
2) Heat the olive oil and water in a large , deep-sided skillet. Add the onions and cook over medium-low heat until tender, about 30 minutes. Add the rice, parsley, and salt. Cover and simmer about 15 minutes.
3) Meanwhile, combine the tomato paste, sugar, black pepper, dill, 1 tablespoon dried mint, and juice from 3 of the lemons in a bowl. Stir into the rice, cover, and simmer another 10 minutes (generally not necessary when using bulgur). Remove from heat.
4) Line the bottom of a large pot with grape leaves. Arrange the carrot strips lengthwise over the grape leaves across the bottom of the pot.
5) Taking one grape leave at a time, trim the stem to a stub, if necessary. Place the leaf in the center of a small plate or work surface, vein side up, stem-end pointed down (towards you). Place a spoonful of rice stuffing into the center of the leaf. Fold the bottom up over the stuffing and the sides in toward the center and roll upward (away from you). Roll snugly. The rolled leaf will resemble a small hot dog.
6) As each leaf is rolled, arrange it in the pot on top of the carrot strips. After all the leaves are rolled, set a dinner plate, bottom-side up, on top of the pile of rolled grape leaves. This will secure them in place during the cooking.
7) Bring 3 cups of water, the remaining mint, and the juice from the lemon to a boil in a different pot. When boiling, pour the liquid into the pot holding the stuffed grape leaves. Cover, and bring the liquid quickly back to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat and simmer, covered, until grape leaves are tender. This may take as little as 30 minutes if you used fresh leaves to as long as 1 hour if you used store-bought leaves, which can be thick and tough.
8) Remove from heat. Pour off excess water immediately. Let cool in the pot, still covered with the dinner plate, for at least 30 minutes before removing the stuffed leaves to a serving platter.
9) Garnish with cooked carrot strips, lemon wedges, and parsley. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until serving. Traditionally, stuffed grape leaves are served lightly chilled or at room temperature as an appetizer.
You can also serve them hot with a dollop of cool plain yogurt on top.
This party-sized recipe yields enough to experiment. http://www.amazon.com/Simply-Armenian-Naturally-Healthy-Cooking/dp/1931834067/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1332333600&sr=1-1
This recipe is from the cookbook the above link will take you to.