Yaprak – Hot stuffed vine leaves (Syria)
1 x cup rice (long grain white rice or any other type you prefer)
400g minced lamb/beef/quorn
1 x large jar of grape leaves
1x teaspoon salt
1x teaspoon ground black pepper
1 xtbs ground allspice
1 x tsp ground cumin
3 x cloves garlic – mashed
1 x large onion (finely chopped)
1x can of chopped tomatoes
.5 x cup lemon juice
Start cooking your rice according to packet instructions but cook for only half the time required and drain well.
Whilst the rice is cooking, finely chop the onion and mash the garlic then mix them into your (raw) mince, stirring in the salt, pepper, lemon juice and spices – Set aside. (large onion chunks could tear your leaves when it’s time to roll so do chop finely or blend together with the garlic in a blender !) –
Open your jar of grape leaves, rinse gently and drain (patting dry with a clean teatowel).
Place the leaves flat on a board, ready for stuffing, vein side up.
Once your rice is drained, mix this into the mince.
To stuff the leaves, place about a spoonful of filling at the bottom of each leaf or more if you prefer.
Roll each leaf upwards, turning in the sides carefully until the leaf looks like a short cigar.
Brush a small amount of oil at the bottom of a deep pan or pot or if you prefer, line the bottom with extra vine leaves, to prevent the stuffed ones from sticking to the bottom.
Place each stuffed leaf carefully at the bottom of your pan/pot with the overlap facing the bottom. Pack them in nice and tight and then pour the chopped tomatoes and fill the can with cold water pouring that onto the leaves as well. The wider the pan the better as fitting all of the leaves into one layer will mean that they will cook at the same rate.
Cover the leaves with foil and put a plate ontop of the foil which will serve as a weight to keep the leaves in place.
Bring pot to the boil and then simmer on a low to medium heat for an hour or until the leaves and rice are soft and cooked.
Serve immediately or later , hot or even cold if you prefer.