After visiting the International Food Club, here in Orlando, I came away with a jar of grape leaves. I knew right then that I’d be making the traditional Stuffed Grape Leaves With Egg-Lemon Sauce.
Before making this dish, I did speak to a few people of Greek descent about what they used in their filling. I wanted to know how much their recipes varied when it came to this recipe. I found out they were all pretty much the same.
Next, I did a little research, I wanted it to be as authentic as possible. What I found was, there was one difference between those I spoke to and the online recipes which called for adding some type of nuts to the filling. I decided to make this recipe as authentic as possible giving the option of adding chopped pine nuts or walnuts. That being said, this dish is definitely a labor of love. 😊
Prep Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Cook Time: 45 to 50 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 20 minutes
Yields: 4 servings
Equipment: 1 (6-quart) Dutch oven pot with a tight-fitting lid, 1 medium-size mixing bowl, 1 large mixing bowl, 1 (12-inch) sauté pan
1/3 cup of olive oil
3 tablespoons grapeseed oil (1 tablespoon for sautéeing the onions)
1/2 cup onion, diced
1/2 cup of green onions, chopped fine
1 pound of lean ground sirloin, 90% lean (substitute ground lamb)
1/2 cup long-grain rice, (Jasmine) uncooked
3 cups chicken broth, unsalted (plus 1 (10 3/4-ounce) can, low sodium for Egg–Lemon Sauce)
1/2 cup dry white wine (Chardonnay)
2 tablespoons of pine nuts, toasted (optional)
2 tablespoons of fresh dill (1/2 the amount if dried)
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 freshly ground black pepper
1 (16-ounce) jar of grape leaves, drained and rinsed
7 whole lemons (for both the grape leaves, egg-lemon sauce, plus 1 to 2 lemons for garnish)
Ingredients For The Liquids:
3 cups chicken broth, unsalted
1/2 cup dry white wine (Chardonnay)
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 chicken broth, low-sodium
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
4 lemons, juiced
2 tablespoons of butter, unsalted
2 heaping tablespoons all-purpose flour
Directions: Grape Leaves:
The very first step is to rinse the long grain rice of any excess starch. Place 1 cup of Jasmine rice into a large bowl and cover with water, 3 cups. Let the rice sit until the water turns cloudy. Drain the water and repeat this process four times until the water remains clear. Drain the rice into a large bowl, set aside
Line a large plate with a paper towel. Remove the grape leaves from the jar, separating them carefully, removing the hard stem from each leaf. Rinse each one at a time really well to remove any and all brine.
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.
Note: The imperfect and/or smaller leaves, use 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.
Start with a dry small sauté pan over medium-low heat, add the pine nuts. Ocassionaly swish the pan around so the pine nuts toast evenly. The pine nuts are done as soon as you smell their nutty aroma, approx. 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and allow to cool before adding them to the filling.
In the Dutch oven, on medium heat, add 1 tablespoon of grapeseed oil. Add diced onions and sliced green onions sauté until just until soft, 2 to 3 minutes.
Next, add the ground sirloin to the pot. Using the back of a wooden spoon, break up the meat. Season with Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper.
Continue cooking until the meat is brown and cooked through, 10 minutes. Add the uncooked rice and combine. Transfer to the bowl holding the uncooked rice.
Next, for the pine nuts (optional) and herbs. Add chopped mint, dill, and flat-leaf Italian parsley to the meat and rice mixture, stir to combine. Allow the filling to cool before stuffing the grape leaves.
Tip: One important thing to remember is, you want to stuff the leaves fairly tight but not too tight. The rice is still going to cook in the next step, 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 the remaining grapeseed oil. Line the bottom of the pot with the smaller-imperfect grape leaves. Place the stuffed grape leaves in a circular pattern into the pot. There will be two layers of stuffed grape leaves when finished.
In a measuring cup, add fresh lemon juice, olive oil, dry white wine, 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. Over medium heat, bring to a boil. Reduce to low heat and simmer for 45 minutes. Remove the covered pot from the heat and set aside. Star the Egg-Lemon sauce.
Directions For Egg-Lemon Sauce, Avgolemono Sauce:
In a medium-size bowl lightly beat 4 egg yolks with 1/2 the can of 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 butter in a small saucepan. Add the 2 heaping tablespoons of all-purpose flour whisking to form a *roux and light blond in color. Slowly add the lemon juice/chicken brother mixture, continuously whisking until thick and smooth.
Remove from heat for, around 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.
Arrange the Stuffed Grape Leaves on a large serving platter along with the Egg-Lemon Sauce. Garnish with lemon slices.
There you have it, my Stuffed Grape Leaves With Egg-Lemon Sauce.
*Roux is a mixture of fat (especially butter) and flour used in making sauces.