Being Stuffed Never Sounded So Good
I’m heading to Lebanon now with my “Around the World” Easter dishes. When I was growing up my mom made this delicious Mediterranean dish on Easter as well as every holiday. I seriously couldn’t get enough of them! Stuffed Grape Leaves are the cuisine of many cultures.
Stuffed Grape Leaves
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8-10 cups water or broth (for boiling grape leaves)
1 jar grape leaves 60-70 in brine
1 lb. ground beef
1/4 cup olive oil, divided
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 medium Yukon gold potatoes, sliced
1 1/2 cups short grain white rice, uncooked
Pinch of nutmeg
1/2 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. Allspice
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 cup lemon juice, divided
1 lemon, sliced
1/3 fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 tbsp. fresh mint, chopped
Kosher Salt and finely ground pepper to taste
Remove grape leaves from jar and rinse thoroughly and allow to drain in colander. Pat dry.
Drain and set aside.
In a large skillet heat 2 tbsp. of the olive oil over medium high heat and sauté the chopped garlic until translucent, about 2 minutes. Add in the onion and cook until softened, approx. 5 minutes. Add the meat and cook until no longer pink. Be sure to drain any excess fat, then season the meat with the kosher salt, pepper, allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg and cumin. Allow to cool.
Combine the meat, uncooked rice, and fresh herbs. Add a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and toss to combine. Add a pinch of the kosher salt.
Remove the stems of grape leaves.
To roll the grape leaves, place a leaf with the vein side up on your work surface. Add one tbsp. of the filling mixture to the center of the leaf. Fold the edges in and up and roll the grape leaf until it looks like a cigar, tucking the edges under the roll. (Don’t roll too tight to allow for expansion of rice). Proceed with the other leaves until you've run out of filling or leaves.
Lightly oil the pot with some olive oil, then add a few layers of grape leaves and top with sliced potatoes. This protects the stuffed grape leaves touching the bottom of the pot from scorching.
Proceed to arrange the stuffed grape leaves in rows, alternating the direction of each layer of rows. Pour 2 tbsp. olive oil and 1 cup cold water over them along with a few slices of lemons.
Place a small plate inverted on top (this helps keep them in place while cooking.)
Cover the pot with its lid and cook over medium heat for 30 minutes until most of the liquid has been absorbed. Uncover and remove the plate, then pour rest of lemon juice on top. Cover again with the lid and cook on low heat for 30 to 45 more minutes or until fully cooked.
Let rest for 20 to 30 minutes, uncovered, before transferring to serving platter.