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Let's Dish With Linda Lou

Sharing My Recipes, My Life, And The Food Tale Of Two Cities

Stuffed Grape Leaves Served With An Egg-Lemon Sauce

on July 17, 2015

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After visiting the International Food Club, I came home with a jar grape leaves, I knew right then that I would be making stuffed grape leaves. Before making this dish, I did speak to a few people of Greek descent. I asked them about the filling. I wanted to know in their families, what was traditional. They were all pretty much the same on the specifics of the filling.

Next, I did a little research on the web. Because it was my first time making this dish, I wanted it to be as authentic as possible. What I found was, there was one difference from those I spoke to. The online recipes called for adding some type of nuts to the filling. whether they are chopped almonds or pine nuts, I’ve decided to make my version as close to an authentic recipe with the option of adding nuts. With this being said, this dish is definitely a labor of love.

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The very first step is to rinse the long grain rice of any excess starch. I placed 1 cup of Jasmine rice into a large bowl and filled it with 3 cups of water. Enough to cover the rice completely. I let the rice sit in the water until the water turned cloudy. I then repeated this process.  It took about four times of rinsing the rice for the water to remain clear. Once that was completed, I completely drained the water from the rice and let that sit to the side while I worked on the grape leaves.

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                          The next step is what I mean by this dish is a labor of love.
As you can see, the grape leaves are in brine to preserve them. What you need to do is to remove the leaves from the jar, separating them carefully and removing the hard stem from each leaf. Rinsing each one off really well to remove any brine that may be left on the leaves. After rinsing each of the leaves, I lined a large plate with paper towel. Let the excess water drain onto the paper towel, patting dry the top of each leaf dry before transferring them to a large bowl. The imperfect and/or smaller leaves, I used to line the bottom of the greased pot. This will stop the grape leaves from having direct contact with the bottom of the pot and ensure they won’t burn.

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In a Dutch oven pot, I’ve sautèed diced onions and green onions in a little olive oil on medium heat, just until soft. I’ve shown the pine nuts above as an ingredient, but that is optional. I’ve also added ground sirloin to the pot. Using the back of a wooden spoon, break up the meat.

Still, on medium heat, continue cooking until the meat is cooked through and brown, about 10 minutes Season with Kosher salt and black pepper. Add the uncooked rice and combine.

Next for the pine nuts (optional) and herbs. I use three different types of herbs. chopped Mint, Dill, and flat leaf Italian parsley. Add the herb mixture to the to the meat filling and stir to combine. Remove the filling from the heat and let cool before stuffing the grape leaves.

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One important thing that I want to mention here is, that you want to stuff the grape leaves fairly tight but not too tight. The rice is still going to cook in the next step, and with that said, the rice may expand a bit more and you don’t want the grape leaves to break or to come apart while cooking.

Lay a plastic baggie down on a cutting board. Place a leaf, shiny side down. Add a heaping teaspoon of filling to the bottom portion of each leaf. Next, bring the bottom of the leaf up over the filling then folded in each side and continued to roll the rest of the leaf. Similar to if you were rolling up a mini burrito.

Grease all over the bottom of the Dutch oven with grapeseed oil. Line the bottom of the pot with the smaller or torn grape leaves. Place the stuffed grape leaves in a circular pattern into the pot. I ended up with two layers of stuffed grape leaves when I finished.

In a measuring cup, add fresh lemon juice, olive oil, dry white wine, unsalted chicken broth, and mix. Pour this liquid over the grape leaves.

White Wine And Unsalted Chicken Broth

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Before placing the lid onto the pot, place a heavy plate upside down on top of the stuffed grape leaves to prevent the leaves from unrolling. One medium heat, bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer, about 45-50 minutes. Remain covered, remove the pot from the heat and set aside while you make the Egg-Lemon sauce.

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Now when removing the Stuffed Grape Leaves from the pot, be careful, the plate under the cover is still very hot. Use a slotted spoon to remove the leaves in case of any liquid that may be in the pot. Place the Stuffed Grape Leaves on a serving platter alongside the Egg-Lemon Sauce a few slices of lemons, and serve.

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Yields: 4 servings
Prep Time: 1 -1-1/2 hours
Cooking Time For Stuffed Grape Leaves: 45-50 minutes
Equipment: Pot with a tight-fitting lid

Ingredients:
1/3 cup of olive oil
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil (reserve for greasing bottom of the Dutch oven)
1/2 cup diced onion
1/2 cup of chopped green onions
1 pound of lean ground sirloin (substitute ground lamb)
1/2 cup long grain rice, uncooked
3 cups unsalted chicken broth (plus a 1-10 3/4 ounce can for EggLemon Sauce)
1/2 cup dry white wine.
2 tablespoons of pine nuts (optional)
2 tablespoons of fresh dill (1/2 the number of dried herbs)
2 tablespoons of fresh Italian flat leaf parsley ( 1/2  the amount if dried)
1 tablespoon of fresh mint ( 1/2 the amount if dried))
1 teaspoon of Kosher salt
1/2 a teaspoon of black pepper
1-16 ounce jar of drained and rinsed grape leaves.
7 whole lemons ( for both grape leaves, egg-lemon sauce, and 1-2 lemons for garnish)

Ingredients: Liquids 
3 cups unsalted chicken broth
1/2 cup dry white wine
3 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoon of olive oil

Ingredients: Egg-Lemon Sauce (Avgolemono Sauce)
4 egg yolks (substitute “Egg Beaters”)
1- 10 3/4 ounce can unsalted chicken broth
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
4 lemons, juiced
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 heaping tablespoons all-purpose flour

Directions: Grape Leaves:
The very first step is to rinse the long grain rice of any excess starch. I placed 1 cup of Jasmine rice into a large bowl and filled it with 3 cups of water. Enough to cover the rice completely. I let the rice sit in the water until the water turned cloudy. I then repeated this process four times until the water to remained clear. Once that was completed, I completely drained off the water from the rice and set aside while I worked on the grape leaves.

As you can see, the grape leaves are in brine to preserve them. What you need to do is to remove the leaves from the jar, separating them carefully and removing the hard stem from each leaf. Rinsing each one off really well to remove any brine that may be on them. After rinsing each one of the grape leaves, I lined a large plate with paper towel.

Let the excess water drain onto the paper towel, patting dry the top of each one of the leaves before transferring them to a large bowl. The imperfect and/or smaller leaves, I used to line the bottom of the pot. This will stop the grape leaves from having direct contact with the bottom of the pot and ensure they will not burn.

In a Dutch oven pot, on medium heat, sautè diced onions and green onions in olive oil, just until soft. I’ve shown the pine nuts above as an ingredient, but that’s optional. I’ve also added ground sirloin to the pot. Using the back of a wooden spoon, break up the meat.

Still, on medium heat, continue cooking until the meat is cooked through and brown, about 10 minutes Season with Kosher salt and black pepper. Add the uncooked rice and combine.

Next for the pine nuts (optional) and herbs. I use three different types of herbs. chopped Mint, Dill, and flat leaf Italian parsley. Add the herb mixture to the to the meat filling and stir to combine. Remove the filling from the heat and let cool before stuffing the grape leaves.

One important thing that I want to mention here is, that you want to stuff the leaves fairly tight but not too tight. The rice is still going to cook in the next step, and with that said, the rice may expand a bit more and you don’t want the grape leaves to break or to come apart while cooking.

Lay a plastic baggie down on a cutting board. Place a leaf, shiny side down. Add a heaping teaspoon of filling to the bottom portion of each leaf. Next, bring the bottom of the leaf up over the filling then folded in each side and continued to roll the rest of the leaf. Similar to if you were rolling up a mini burrito.

Grease the bottom of the Dutch, oven with grapeseed oil. eLine the bottom of the pot with the smaller grape leaves. Place the stuffed grape leaves in a circular pattern into the pot. I ended up with two layers of stuffed grape leaves when I finished. In a measuring cup, add fresh lemon juice, olive oil, dry white wine, unsalted chicken broth, and mix. Pour this liquid over the grape leaves.

Before placing the lid onto the pot, place a heavy plate, upside down on top of the stuffed grape leaves to prevent the leaves from unrolling. One medium heat, bring to a boil. Reduce to low heat and simmer about 45 minutes. Remain covered, remove the pot from the heat and set aside while making the Egg-Lemon sauce.

Directions For Egg-Lemon Sauce, Avgolemono Sauce:
In a bowl lightly beat 4 egg yolks with 1/2 the can of unsalted chicken broth. In another bowl add the juice of 4 lemons with the remaining chicken broth and Kosher salt, stir.

On medium heat, add 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter in a small saucepan. Add the 2 heaping tablespoons of all-purpose flour whisking to form a Roux, light blond in color. Slowly add the lemon juice/chicken brother mixture, continuously whisking until thickened.

Whisk until liquid has thickened and is smooth.

Remove from heat for about 2 minutes or until mixture has cooled down enough to add the egg yolk mixture. You DO NOT want the eggs to scramble. You want a smooth creamy sauce.

Gradually add the beaten egg yolk mixture continuously whisking until smooth.

Note: The next day the grape leaves will taste even better. Heat them up in a sautè pan and serve the Egg-Lemon Sauce.

 

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