Last week at the University Farm market they had grape leaves! Awesome, I thought. Unfortunately, they were far from being experts at picking them, so some of these were too tough to eat. I would suggest getting the pre-canned ones for anyone attempting to make these, but for those who have fresh leaves, instructions are below. I let mine sit in brine for about a week and a half before using them, and they tasted/smelled exactly like the professionally done ones. : )
If using fresh leaves:
1. Rinse all leaves and get off any debris. Don't use leaves that are too tough (where the vein is white, not green still or are hard to roll tightly).
2. Prepare enough brine to fill a jar 2/3 the way up (1 oz. salt to 1 cup water).
3. Pour brine into a jar. Roll leaves tightly into cigarette-like looking tubes and place into the jar. Continue rolling the remaining leaves, and pack tightely.
4. Make enough brine to fill the container up to the brim and store in the refrigerator until use. (You can probably store these in a cabinet, but I'm untrusting when it comes to bottling)
For more information, refer to about.com. Scroll down to the "Store in Brine - the Cigarette Method" section. (Unfortunately it's not tagged properly, so I can't give you all a nice link to this part x.x)
Note: I forgot to add the hot pepper to the inside of my rolls, so you see them on the outside. Also: I only cooked a 1/3 batch.
Stuffed Grape Leaves
from Kitchen bloody Kitchen
makes ~30 leaves
30-35 grape leaves, soaked in brine
250 g. long-grained rice
250 g. onion, minced
50 g. pine nuts
30 g. raisins
handful of parsley, minced
1 Tbs. fresh mint, minced
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 Tbs. tomato paste (double concentrate) OR 1-2 fresh tomatoes, peeled and mashed
1 fresh red chilli, seeded and minced
large pinch salt and pepper
3 cloves garlic, whole
300 g. water
60 grams olive oil
2 large lemons, juiced
2 pinches of sugar
pinch of turmeric
salt and pepper
1. Unroll the leaves and stack them in a large bowl. Pick through them and get rid of any with tears or blemishes. Cover with boiling water and mash a little so that the water penetrates between the leaves. Let stand for 20 minutes.
2. Put the rice in a bowl and cover with room-temperature water. Let stand for 20 minutes.
3. Rinse the rice several times under cold water until the rinse water is almost clear. Drain well, and combine well with all other filling ingredients.
4. Drain and rinse soaked grape leaves well.
5. Place a leaf on a flat working-surface, vein-side up. Put 1-2 Tbs. filling (depending on size of leaf) onto the center of the leaf. Fold the top of the leaf over the filling, just enough to make a cap. Take a side leaf, and pull all the way across the filling (tuck the bottom part around the filling on the bottom). Roll the filled-sde towards the unrolled side-part of the leaf (not too tightly, leaving room for the rice to expand). Set seam-side down into a pot (if cooking on the stove) or a cake pan (if baking).
6. Fill the first level of your cooking pan, then you can start to make layers. Keep rolling grape leaves until you run out of filling or grape leaves.
if using the oven: Pre-heat to 350F
7. Nestle the garlic cloves into your cooking pan between the grape-leaf rolls.
8. Combine the rest of the marinade ingredients, and pour over your grape leaves. Then add enough water to cover the rolls, and salt lightly.
if using the oven:
9. Cover dish with foil and bake for 1 hour (until the water has been soaked up, but rolls aren't dry)
if using stove top:
9. Cover pot and simmer for 20 minutes, until the water has been soaked up but the rolls aren't too dry.
10. Turn off heat and let sit until leaves are room-temperature. Serve.