spicy vegetable stuffed grape leaves
I know that we’re all very busy around this time of year trying to get all our shopping done, and the last thing we want to do is spend more time in the kitchen. But around those busy days we also have family over and extra hands in the kitchen, so time consuming dishes can be done much faster.
Stuffed grape leaves are one of those dishes that are fun to make when you have a few extra hands around. Friends or family usually don’t mind volunteering in the kitchen and just sitting around and rolling is a great conversation starter. And at the end you’ll have some delicious grape leaves!
2 jars grape leaves (I like Orlando brand)
2 large bunches of parsley (rinsed and chopped)
2 large bunches of cilantro (rinsed and chopped)
1 bunch mint (leaves removed, rinsed and chopped)
1 bunch green onions (rinsed, chopped and dark green parts discarded)
1 large yellow onion chopped
8 L tomatoes (half chopped and half skinned and pureed)
4 green chili peppers chopped and seeds removed
3 Cups short grain rice (rinsed 5 times and drained)
Juice of 2 lemons
1 C extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp tomato paste
Salt and pepper
1 tsp crushed red pepper
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 medium Idaho potatoes (peeled and sliced to 1/8 inch rounds)
Take leaves out of jars and place in boiling hot water for a minute, remove and set aside.
Mix parsley, cilantro, mint, green onions, half of the chopped yellow onions, the chopped tomatoes (not the puree), and the green chili pepper.
Add half cup of the olive oil, juice of 1 lemon to the mixture, salt and pepper to taste.
In a large pot, bring heat to medium and add 2 tbsp of olive oil, add the remaining amount of chopped onions and sauté till translucent, then add the rice and stir together for a few minutes. Add the pureed tomatoes, crushed pepper and some salt and black pepper, and bring to boil. Lower heat to low and simmer for a few minutes till rice is half cooked.
Off heat, add the vegetable mixture to the rice in the pot. mix the stuffing thoroughly.
Roll the grape leaves with the stuffing into rolls abut 4 inches each.
In a medium pot, place the sliced potatoes at the bottom of the pot so that each slice is right next to the other covering the entire bottom of the pot.
Place the grape leaves rolls snuggly one next to the other, all the way to the top,
Dissolve the remaining tomato paste in 3/4 C water, add the remaining olive oil, lemon juice, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper to taste.
Add the liquid mixture to the pot of the grape leaves and bring to medium high heat, once boiling add a heat safe dish right on top of the grape leaves and press gently so that grape leaves feel snug together.
Lower heat to very Low and cover pot.
Let simmer for 2 hours exactly.
Turn off heat and let rest for at least 30 minutes to 1 hour.
Bring a serving dish that is barely an inch wider than the pot, remove the cover from pot, place the serving dish right on top of pot and invert the pot so that the serving dish is right at the receiving end. enjoy!