Middle Eastern Stuffed Grape Leaves (Yaprak Dolmas)
Recipe courtesy of Rabbi Gil Marks
Roll grape leaves with friends and conversation rolls right along. I watched the tension melt away as hundreds of grape leaves piled up when a synagogue group assembled these together. They are fun to make and delicious to eat.
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 medium onions, chopped (about 1½ cups)
- 2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1½ cups long-grain rice
- ½ cup pine nuts or pistachios, coarsely chopped
- ½ cup dried currants or raisins
- ¼ cup chopped fresh mint or flat-leaf parsley
- 1¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon ground allspice
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2½ cups chicken broth or water
- 40 large or 60 small (1-pound jar) grape leaves
- 2 cups chicken broth or water
- ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
- 3 whole garlic cloves
- ¼ cup olive oil (optional)
- 2 to 3 teaspoons sugar (optional)
- To make the filling, heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté and until soft and translucent, 5 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Add the rice and sauté until opaque, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the pine nuts, currants, mint or parsley, salt, pepper, allspice and cinnamon. Add the 2½ cups of broth and bring the mixture to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat to low and simmer until the liquid is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Let cool.
- To assemble, unroll the grape leaves, rinse under cold water and soak in water to cover for 5 minutes. Drain and pat dry. Carefully cut off the stems. Place the leaves shiny side down and vein side up on a flat surface. On the large leaves place 1 tablespoon of filling and on the smaller leaves, place a heaping teaspoon of filling. Fold the sides over and, starting from the filling end, roll up the leaf to make a neat package.
- Cover the bottom of a heavy pot or baking dish with any extra leaves. Arrange the rolled leaves, seam side down in layers in the pot. Mix the 2 cups of broth, lemon juice, garlic and, if desired, oil and/or sugar, and pour over the stuffed grape leaves to cover. Weigh down with a heavy plate.
- Cover the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer over a low heat or place in a 350-degree oven and bake until the leaves are tender, about 1 hour. Drain. Serve warm or at room temperature.