Grape leaves are stuffed with a delicious combination of rice, currants, fresh herbs and tangy lemon. Can be enjoyed as an appetizer or entrée and pairs well with a crisp, white wine such as Sauvignon Blanc. Courtesy of Chef Rosemary Rutland.
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1/2 c. chopped green onions, white and green parts
1/2 c. long-grain white rice
1/4 c. fresh Italian parsley, chopped
1 1/2 Tbsp. fresh mint, chopped
1 Tbsp. fresh dill, chopped
1 1/2 Tbsp. fresh fennel greens or leaves, chopped
2 1/2 Tbsp. currants
large pinch cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
freshly ground black pepper
1-2 c. water, as needed
juice of 1 lemon
Carefully separate the grape leaves and cut off the tough stems. Rinse with cool tap water, drain well and pat dry with paper towels. Set aside.
Heat a large skillet over medium heat until the rim is hot to the touch. Add 2 Tbsp. olive oil and heat
for one minute. Add the onions and cook until soft, about 5 minutes.
Add the pine nuts, green onions and rice and stir until the nuts are toasted and the green onions are wilted and soft, about 4 minutes.
Stir in the parsley, mint, dill, fennel greens, currants, cinnamon, salt, pepper to taste and 1 c. water. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer until the rice is cooked and water absorbed, 15 minutes.
To make the rolls, place a grape leaf on a cutting board or clean work surface, vein side up and stem end toward you. Place a heaping teaspoon of filling at the base of the leaf and then fold the stem over the filling. Fold in the sides towards the center and then roll the leaf into a cylindrical bundle. Don’t fold too tightly or the bundle may split during cooking.
Line a medium or large sauté pan with a few grape leaves along with a few fennel fronds and dill sprigs, if desired. Place the bundles seam-side down, close together in the pan. Repeat the process with remaining grape leaves and fillings.
Sprinkle the lemon juice and remaining 2 Tbsp. of olive oil over the bundles. Add water to bring the liquid level to halfway up the sides of the stuffed leaves.
Cover the pan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until the water is almost completely absorbed and the rice is cooked, about 1 hour. Turn off the heat and allow the grape leaves to stand for 4-5 minutes.
Transfer the dolmathes to a serving plate and discard the liquid. Serve and enjoy!