Saturday, May 24, 2008

A Nostalgic Recipe for Me - Stuffed Grape Leaves

We were picking blackberries again yesterday and when I came around a corner I saw grape vines. I got very excited because there are very few places around here (in the desert) that have grape vines and I have not been able to make this family dish since we have lived here - over 5 years! I asked the owners if I could snip some of their leaves and they said sure. So I snipped about 65 or so leaves and last night made a very nostalgic recipe for me - stuffed grape leaves.
This recipe brings back so many memories - my grandmother was from Germany and we had a grape harbor. So every summer, we would make this recipe together, as long as there were young leaves on the grape vines. Most recipes for stuffed grape leaves are Greek in origin and do not include the tomatoes. I truly don't know the ethnic origins of this meal, but it is very different tasting from the Greek ones.

To begin with, I washed the leaves in a big bowl with some baking soda and patted them dry with a towel. Then I made a meat and rice mixture for the filling and rolled a portion of meat into each leaf. I found a step by step photo tutorial online for filling and rolling, so I didn't take pictures of those steps. However, I don't blanch the leaves first, but that would make it easier:-) Now, my grandmother cooked hers in a pressure cooker for about 20 minutes. I don't have a pressure cooker, so I decided to try my roasting pan in the oven and it worked great! Here is my recipe, slightly modified from my grandmothers:

2 lbs. ground turkey
1 cup white rice
2 Tbl. 21 Seasoning Salute (from Trader Joes) or any mixture of spices you would like
1/2 tsp. allspice

Mix this all together for the filling. Put about a Tablespoon of mixture in each leaf (depending on size of leaves) and roll up. Cover bottom of pan with flat grape leaves and then place the rolled ones on top of that, layering as you go. Then pour canned tomatoes over them (I used 4 cans - around 15 oz. each - of whole tomatoes and just broke them up with my fingers). Cover with another layer of flat grape leaves. Add a little water to ensure no burning and enough sauce. Cover pot and place in 350 degree oven for one hour. When they are ready, serve over mashed potatoes. Mmmm...delicious! You can also cook in a pot on the stove top (that is how I have done it in the past). Cook until rice is tender.

For more great recipes and ideas, visit Grandma Rosie's Texas Home for the 51st Homesteading Carnival and don't miss Make It From Scratch being hosted over at The Miller Way.


Unknown said...

Found you through BlogHer. I can almost taste your recipe from here - looks delicious.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for adding this great post to the 51st Homesteading Carnival. HUGS!!

Stephanie Appleton said...

Oh I've been eying the wild grapes on our property. I made them last year, and they were so good. Time to go picking!

Belle said...

I did not know that Grape Leaves were edible! Thank you for sharing!


Belle said...

I did not know that grape leaves were edible! Thank you for sharing! I have learned something new by reading you blog!