mandag den 16. august 2010

Grape leaves

It is almost common to have a little vineyard in Denmark now - due to climate changes...

At least we have one at our summerhouse. We haven’t made wine yet - but maybe we will give it a shot this year. However we have eaten both the grapes and the leaves:)

Grape leaves

Rinse the leaves well in cold water and remove stems. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add 1 TBSP salt. Plunge the leaves in the pot and bring the water back to a boil. Remove leaves with a skimmer and plunge them immediately into cold water. Drain and shake dry.

Use immediately or freeze the leaves: stack in rolls of six and place in freezer bags. Use as soon as thawed- they don't keep well after freezing.

Or preserve: stack 6 to 12 blanched leaves of the same size. Roll them up and place them in sterilized canning jars. Make brine: 1/4 pound kosher salt or pickling salt per quart of water. Boil at least five minutes and add 1 TBSP powdered citric acid. Fill the jars to cover the leaves with at least 1/2 inch of brine (about 1 cup brine per jar). Place clean, washed and boiled stones on top to hold the leaves down in the brine and seal the jars. Store the jars in a cool and dark place. To use the leaves, remove as many as you need and rinse under cold running water to remove brine.

24 grape leaves
1 pound ground lamb
1/2 cup uncooked basmati rice
1 onion, finely chopped
1-2 gloves garlic, crushed or chopped
1 little handful fresh mint, chopped
1/2 lemon (grated rind and juice)
1/4 tsp ground allspice
Salt and pepper 1 cup vegetable or chicken stock
1-2 TBSP olive oil

Soak the rice for 10 minutes in cold water and drain. In a bowl, combine the ground lamb, onion, garlic, rice, mint, lemon rind and juice, allspice, salt and pepper. Mix well by hand.

Stuff the leaves with the shiny side down. Place a small spoonful of prepared stuffing at the stem end of the leaf, roll about one half turn. Fold in the two sides. Continue rolling to the tip of the leaf. The package should be firm, but not tight, as the stuffing will expand while cooking.

Place seam side down in a cooking pan, just touching. Add stock and olive oil and bring to a simmer. Lower the heat and let steam covered for about 45 minutes - it can take longer if the rolls are large or leaves tough.

Serve warm or cold – we enjoyed them warm with tzatziki and a tomato salad. Note: you can also make them vegetarian with rice, onion, pine nuts and currants or raisins.

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