Or in this case wild grape leaves. Years ago, a friend from Lebanon gave me her mother’s stuffed grape leaf recipe. She used wild grape leaves that she gathered from May until the end of June. No grape leaves left on the vine after June were considered edible; they were too tough. Although Greeks make stuffed Grape Leaves too, (dolmades), my grandmother didn’t prepare them nor did my father. My mother made the most fabulous stuffed peppers and tomatoes, Greek style, but not grape leaves.
I noticed this week that we have a plethora of wild grape on our property, so I plan on picking them this week, washing them and freezing them. Here’s the recipe. Amounts are based on one pound of ground meat. You can use whatever you like, beef, lamb, turkey or chicken. I wouldn’t use pork…
Stuffed Grape Leaves
Grape Leaves, washed, patted dry
Ground meat raw
Cut up chicken parts, skin on
A little celery for the chicken broth
Salt and Pepper
Mint, fresh or dried
White Rice, cooked 1 cup
2 Tbs Pine nuts, lightly browned in butter, and coarsely chopped. They burn easily, so watch.
Wash and dry the chicken, cutting large pieces in half, and brown in olive oil in a dutch oven. Add two onions diced, chopped celery and garlic. Simmer until veggies are tender. Fill the pot with water and bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer until the chicken is tender. You can pull the bones out. Set chicken in broth aside.
Mix ground meat with other ingredients minus celery, and place a generous tablespoon of the mixture in the center of a grape leaf. Fold over and roll up, tucking in sides as you go. Set aside until all the meat mixture is used up.
Heat chicken and broth up again to simmer, just steam coming off. You don’t want this to boil. Gently place the grape leaves on top of the chicken in the hot broth and simmer for 30-45 minutes.