The Best Stuffed Grape Leaves Recipes

food

I’m sure that most of you are sick and tired from the same old same meals, prepared in the American way. In search of something more unique and delicious on the menu, one must be creative in order to enrich his diet. The best way is to dig into the enormous traditional recipe books that every country has to offer.

Greek cuisine is probably among the most famous one around the world and their foot shouts tradition, history and love towards food. However, not everyone has the courage to put his fingers in another country’s cuisine. Not because it’s prohibited or something, but it’s the doubt of making something right and properly Greek.

The reason why I’ve decided to explore the cooking recipes famous in Greece is of course because of my last visit there. You cannot go in Greece and not fall in love with its tradition and cuisine.

Today on the menu- Stuffed Grape Leaves

Probably one of the most delicious and most unique recipe I have ever tasted. The landlady from my apartment there, was kind enough to share with me her secret and after several attempts, I think I mastered the recipe.

Ingredients:

  • Fresh grape leaves- large as your palm
  • White rice
  • Onion- medium size
  • Black pepper
  • Salt
  • Ground meat
  • Olive oil

Preparation:

First you put the onion in a frypan, until it turns brownish and later you add the ground meat. Season the mixture according to taste and cook until the meat is well-done. Then you add white rice and you keep it on the stove for several minutes, until united.

While the mixture is preparing, pour boiled water over the grape leaves, until they get tender enough.  Carefully fill every grape leaf with the mixture, careful not to crush them or break them in half.

After you’ve used all the leaves and mixture, put them in a large pan, pour hot water over them and cook them on a medium heat for 45 min or one hour tops. You can cover the stuffed grape leaves with something hard in order to keep them together. Bon appetite!

However, the good thing about cooking is that you can always give personal touch to every recipe and make it unique in your own, unique way!

Other ideas to prepare stuffed grape leaves:

Stuffed Grape Leaves #1

Ingredients:

  • Pine nuts
  • Grated onion
  • Olive oil
  • Brown rice
  • Grape leaves
  • Raisins
  • Cumin
  • Salt and pepper

Preparation:

The preparation is rather similar to the previous recipe, however the mixture is a little bit different.

Stuffed Grape Leaves #2

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 lb. ground lamb
  • 1 cup uncle bens- converted rice
  • around cup of lemon juice
  • Olive oil
  • 3 tsp cinnamon
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 Tbsp. butter
  • 6 cups of water

Preparation:

First prepare the grape leaves by cleaning them and removing the stems. Prepare the filling- add rice, lamb, butter, lemon juice and seasoning. Stuff the grape leaves with ½ Tbsp. of the filling, near the stem and roll from one end to the other, forming a shape similar to burrito. The damaged leaves should be perfect for lining the bottom of a stock pot.

Put the stuffed grape leaves in rows and cover with some torn leaves. Put a plate over them with something hard to keep them down. Add boiled water, olive oil and ½ cup lemon juice over the stuffed grape leaves. Cook until soft and boiled- check one to see if it’s done. This recipe is also delicious cold or you can easily reheat it.

Stuffed Grape Leaves- Greek Dolmades

Ingredients:

  • A jar of Grape Leaves
  • 2 cups of hot water
  • 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • Lemon wedges

Rice Stuffing

  • 3 Tbsp. raw pine nuts
  • 3 Tbsp. currants
  • 1/2 cup of chopped onion
  • 1 cup white rice- long-grain
  • 2 Tbsp. of freshly chopped parsley
  • 1 squeezed lemon
  • 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. of mint leaves or dill weed
  • Salt and pepper

Yogurt-Cucumber Sauce

  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 3/4 tsp dried dill weed
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/3 cup cucumber

Preparation:

Prepare the leaves- the best grape leaves come in spring, before sprayed and when soft and tender. Remove the stem and clean them. You can also store some leaves in the freezer and keep them for a year. Pour some hot water over the leaves, in order to soften them-keep them like this for 15 min. 

If you use bottled grape leaves, rinse them under cold water, dry and put them in a colander. Place the leaves on a paper towel in order to dry them well. Prepare the rice stuffing- soak currants in warm water for 15 to 20 minutes, heat olive oil in a saucepan, add pine nuts, onion, white rice, cinnamon and hot water, cook gently for 20 minutes, at the end add parsley, lemon juice and dill weed. Cool the mixture before you stuff the leaves.

Stuff the leaves like the images bellow:

Once you’re done, place the stuffed grape leaves in a large pan, not stuck to each other and yet not separated too much, in order to get perfect rolls. Add 2 cups of hot water, lemon juice and olive oil over the stuffed grape leaves.

Place something hard over the rolls and cook for approximately an hour. Once the water in the pan is almost gone and the leaves, black and tender- your meal is done. Prepare the yogurt- mix all the ingredients in a deep bowl and let them blend together for an hour or two. Serve the stuffed grape leaves with yogurt-cucumber sauce. Enjoy!

 Like I’ve said, cooking is a creative, fulfilling process and you should never go by the book. Some of the most amazing and delicious meals were created out of a pure imagination.

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