Friday, August 11, 2006

Stuffed Grape Leaves

I'm having guests this weekend so I am going to make 3 things today so I don't have to cook and clean the kitchen. I can concentrate on fun and beer and an extra 3 yo. in the house.

While this recipe isn't terribly difficult, it is labor-intensive. We recommend you break it up into a couple of steps: Make the filling, then enlist a friend or two to help you do the rolling the following day.
Active time: 5 hr. Start to finish: 6‚ hr.

3 1/2 (1-lb.) jars brine-packed Greek or California grape leaves
3 large lemons
4 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups long-grain rice
1 1/2 lb. merguez or hot Italian sausage
3 cups finely chopped red onion
10 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup pine nuts, toasted
1/2 cup chopped fresh dill
1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 cup dried currants
4 (14 1/2-oz.) cans chicken broth

Prepare leaves:
Unfurl stacks of grape leaves into a large bowl of water (leaves should remain stacked) and gently agitate without separating leaves. Blanch stacks in batches in a large saucepan of boiling water 3 minutes. Transfer stacks to a colander and refresh under cold running water.

Make filling:
Finely grate zest from lemons and squeeze 1/2 cup juice.

Bring water with salt to a boil in a large saucepan and stir in rice. Cook rice, covered, over moderately low heat until water is absorbed, 17 to 20 minutes, and transfer rice to a large bowl.

Remove sausage from casings and cook in a large nonstick skillet over moderate heat, stirring to break up lumps, until no longer pink. Cool to room temperature and crumble into 1/4-inch pieces.

Cook onion with 3 tablespoons oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat, stirring, until soft but not browned and stir into rice with zest, 1/4 cup lemon juice, sausage, nuts, dill, parsley, currants, and salt and pepper to taste.

Fill and roll grape leaves:
Arrange 1 grape leaf, smooth side down, on a kitchen towel. Trim stem flush with leaf (if leaf is extra large, trim to about 5 1/2 inches wide), saving any trimmings. Spoon 1 tablespoon filling onto leaf near stem end and tightly roll up filling in leaf, folding in sides and squeezing roll to pack filling. (Roll should be about 3 1/2 inches long.) Make more rolls using remaining filling in same manner.

Cook grape leaves:
Heat broth just to a simmer and keep warm, covered. Line bottom of a large heavy pot with leaf trimmings and any remaining whole leaves and arrange rolls, seam sides down, close together in layers over leaves, seasoning each layer with salt. Drizzle with 4 tablespoons oil and remaining 1/4 cup lemon juice and cover with an inverted heatproof plate slightly smaller than pan, pressing down gently.

Add just enough broth to reach rim of plate and bring to a boil. Cook rolls at a bare simmer, covered with plate and lid, 50 minutes (stuffed leaves should be tender, but filling should not be mushy). Remove from heat and transfer rolls with tongs to large trays to cool, brushing with remaining 3 tablespoons oil. Cover with plastic wrap and chill until cool.

This is from epicurious. It took a while, they were okay.

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