We have a recipe for Greek Salad with Pita Points that we like, based on one we had in a Greek restaurant, but the past few months our supermarket has stopped carrying the prepared stuffed grape leaves, one of our favorite parts of the meal. They do have grape leaves for stuffing in a jar, Krinos brand, though, and I decided to try making them myself. I prepared them for the second time tonight; the first time I used too much lemon juice, and they were kind of sour. This time they came out tasting as good as those we’ve had in Greek restaurants, and better than the supermarket ones. I think I’ve got it!
The recipe is time consuming — taking over an hour, but it could be worse. I looked through a number of recipes online, and then created this modified version using precooked rice to speed the process. The recipes I looked at, in addition to using meat (which mine does not, and you won’t miss it), looked like they would take well over two hours start to finish. This makes about 30, most of which I’ll freeze in containers of four, the amount we use in our Greek Salad recipe.
STUFFED GRAPE LEAVES
Jar of prepared grape leaves
In a mixing bowl combine:
1 cup rice, cooked per package directions
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 cup finely chopped onion
2 garlic cloves, pressed
2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon dried dill
1 tablespoon dried mint
1 tablespoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
freshly ground pepper to taste
Add to finished pan:
2 cups vegetable broth
juice of 1 lemon
While the rice is cooking, remove grape leaves from jar and smooth them out, making a pile to stuff. Cut off any stems at base of leaf. You’ll have plenty, so use the best and largest ones. Prepare the filling.
Place a leaf on your cutting board and put a heaping teaspoon of filling on it:
Larger leaves will hold more, of course. Some leaves have deep indentations, those will hold less. Large leaves can be folded at the sides:
Then rolled away from you to make the finished product:
For smaller leaves, I just folded them in sections over the filling. None of mine turned out quite the shape of the store-bought ones, but they’re close enough. Fill a large saute pan with finished leaves:
Our pan held all 30, tightly packed:
If you don’t have a large enough pan, you can make a second layer, but spread out some extra leaves in a flat layer between to keep them separated. Add the vegetable stock and additional lemon juice and simmer over medium-low heat until most of the liquid has either evaporated or been absorbed, about 1/2 hour. Remove from heat and serve, or they can be eaten at room temperature, whichever you prefer. In Greek restaurants I’ve had them with a delicious lemon sauce, similar to Hollandaise, but that’s another whole cooking adventure, and we like these just as they are. The finished, cooked leaves are in the first picture above.