Saturday, April 2, 2011

Grape Leaves

Grape Leaves

Grape leaves are my favorite traditional Mediterranean and Middle Eastern dish.  These are frequently made with or without meat (ground lamb would be a little more authentic than the beef).  Instead of the slow cooker these could be simmered stove top for about 45 minutes, or baked in the oven for about an hour, either way using the same method of submerging them in liquid first.

-1 jar grape leaves (usually found with the olives)
-1 onion, chopped
-1 lb lean ground beef
-1/2 cup rice
-1/2 cup pine nuts
-1/2 cup beef broth
-1 tsp dried mint
-1 tsp dried dill
-1/2 tsp salt
-1/4 tsp pepper
-chopped fresh parsley
-1/4 cup + 1 Tbsp olive oil
-juice of 2 lemons

Bring a medium pot of water to a boil.  Remove the grape leaves from the jar, unroll them, and place them in the pot.  Cover and remove from heat, let sit 10 minutes.  Drain the hot water and shock the leaves with cold water.  Pat the leaves dry with paper towels.

Saute onion in 1 Tbsp olive oil until soft.  Add rice and pine nuts, cook 2 minutes.  Add beef broth, simmer over low heat until liquid is absorbed.  Cool completely.  In large bowl, combine onion/ rice mixture, mint, dill, salt, pepper and parsley.  Place grape leaves shiny side down.  Cut off the stem if still intact.  Place 1-2 Tbsp of beef mixture in the center of the grape leaves.  Roll the grape leave around the meat like a burrito.  Repeat until all of the filling is used.

Line the bottom of a slow cooker with the extra grape leaves.  Place the rolled grape leaves seam side down in the slow cooker.  Cover the grape leaves with water.  Pour in the lemon juice and 1/4 cup of olive oil.  Cook on high for 4 hours, or until beef and rice are done.  Serve warm with yogurt sauce for dipping.

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