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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 With Egg-Lemon Sauce

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After visiting the International Food Club, here in Orlando, I came away with a jar 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 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 from 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. ūüėä

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Flat Leaf Italian Parsley

Fresh Mint Leaves

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White Wine And Unsalted Chicken Broth

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Prep Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Cook Time: 45 to 50 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 20 minutes
Yields: 4 servings
Equipment: 6-quart Dutch oven pot with a tight-fitting lid, medium-size mixing bowl, large mixing bowl, 12-inch sauté pan

Ingredients:
1/3 cup of olive oil
3 tablespoons grapeseed oil (1 tablespoon for sautéeing the onions)
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, (Jasmine) uncooked
3 cups unsalted chicken broth (plus 1-10 3/4-ounce can for EggLemon Sauce)
1/2 cup dry white wine (Chardonnay)
2 tablespoons of pine nuts (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 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 unsalted chicken broth
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 of 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. 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.

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, 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. On 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 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 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.

*Roux is a mixture of fat (especially butter) and flour used in making sauces.

 

International Food Club, Orlando, Florida

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Whole Grain Mustard Oven Roasted Potatoes

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This has to be my favorite side dish. My Whole Grain Mustard Oven Roasted Potatoes are a great side dish and pairs really well with chicken or pork. I wanted to post this recipe in the vegetarian and gluten-free categories because I believe those that live a “meat-free” or “gluten-free” lifestyle will enjoy these potatoes as much as I do. This dish is so delicious and simple I’m going straight to the ingredients and directions.

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Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 50 to 60 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Yields: 4 servings
Equipment: 1 rimmed baking sheet pan, large mixing bowl

Ingredients:
2 pounds of small Yukon gold and red potatoes, halved
3 tablespoons of olive oil
2 tablespoons of whole grain mustard
1 large yellow onion, thick sliced half moons
2 teaspoons of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of fresh ground black pepper
1/4 cup of fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
1 tablespoon of fresh dill, chopped

Directions:
Preheat oven to 425-degrees F.
Wash, dry, and cut the potatoes in half.  In a large mixing bowl add the halved potatoes sliced onions, olive oil, whole grain mustard, Kosher salt, and freshly ground black pepper. Toss really well with your hands until all the potatoes and onions are coated. Pour the potatoes onto a rimmed baking sheet pan.

Roast for 50 to 60 minutes. Halfway through roasting, flip all the onions and potatoes over to brown on all sides. Return to the oven to finish roasting. When finished, transfer to a serving bowl and sprinkle with chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley and dill. That’s all there is to making my Whole Grain Mustard Oven Roasted Potatoes.

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Sautéed Haricots Verts With Toasted Almonds

 

Haricots Verts With Almonds

Being a lover of all types of beans, I’d have to say the most elegant of them all, the Haricots Verts. These are the fancy French-style string beans you may see served alongside an extravagant entr√©e in a restaurant. Not any more!¬†Haricots Verts are available in most grocery stores today.

Recipe for my Sautéed Haricots Verts With Almonds pairs perfectly with chicken, fish, pork, or steak and is super delicious.

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Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 14 minutes
Total Time: 19 minutes
Yields: 2 to 4 servings
Equipment: 3-quart saucepot, colander, 12-inch sauté pan, large mixing bowl, large serving bowl

Ingredients:
1 pound of Haricots Verts, trimmed
2 tablespoons of olive oil
2 small shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon of Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1/4 cup of slivered almonds, toasted
1 large sprig of fresh dill, optional

Directions:
Over medium heat add the slivered almonds in a single layer to a dry sauté pan. Heat them, stirring or tossing them frequently until they turn golden brown and start to smell around 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

Start by washing the beans in a colander. Next, line the beans so all the stems are laying in the same direction, cutting off (the ugly end) the tops. After they’re all cleaned, place all the green beans in 3 quarts boiling salted water to *blanch for 2 to 3 minutes. Using a pair of tongs or spider, transfer the beans immediately into an *ice bath. This will shock the beans, stopping the cooking process and set their vibrant green color.

When the beans no longer feel warm to touch, drain in a colander and dry thoroughly with paper towels.

In a large sauté pan over medium heat, add olive oil, swirl to coat. Add sliced shallots and sliced garlic, Kosher salt, and black pepper. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes until shallots are translucent and tender.

Add the Haricot Verts, cook for another 5 minutes or until lightly charred, stirring occasionally. Toss in the toasted slivered almonds, stir to combine.

Transfer the Sautéed Haricots Verts With Toasted Almonds to a large serving bowl. Serve hot.

To *blanch is the process that stops enzyme actions which can cause loss of flavor, color, and texture. Further, it cleanses the surface of dirt and organisms, brightens the color, and helps prevent loss of vitamins.

*ice bath is a combination of water and ice. It’s used to quickly stop the cooking process, especially when blanching or parboiling ingredients.

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