Thursday, 6 June 2013

Stuffed Vine Leaves

These stuffed vines leaves are a delicious snack, starter or picnic item. This authentic Turkish recipe was given to me by one of best friends. Thanks Ashley! She recommends the same exact mixture for stuffed capsicum/peppers as well!
Pickled vine leaves can be found in a Mediterranean grocer or international supermarket.I found them in the regular supermarket in the international section.
This was a huge batch we made so you could halve the ingredients and take less cooking time of you wanted a smaller batch. They last in the fridge for up to a week and are a very healthy and delicious snack.
Note: I've made these again with the same amount of vine leaves and only needed half the other other ingredients.




Stuffed Vine Leaves

Ingredients

2 x 1lb jar pickled vine leaves (you can use fresh if you have them)
8 cups uncooked white rice
450g red or yellow capsicum/peppers
1 white onion
4 large tomatoes (or 3x 400g tins of chopped tomatoes, liquid removed)
3 medium potatoes, sliced
2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1x 170g tin tomato paste
Juice of 6 lemons (reserve 1/2 cup)
1 bunch of parsley
1 bunch of mint


Method

Remove vine leaves from jars and rinse well.
In a large pot boil enough water to cover vine leaves but do not place leaves in the water while boiling.
Once water has boiled remove from heat and place vine leaves in to soften while you prepare the other ingredients.



Finely chop the capsicum, onion, tomatoes, parsley and mint (we used a food processor) and mix well with rice.
Juice the lemons and add them to the mix, reserving 1/2 cup for later.
Add salt and pepper to taste.
Taste the mixture and add any extra flavours you like if necessary.



Slice the potatoes and layer at the bottom of the large pot. These prevent the stuff vine leaves to stick to the bottom.
Drain vine leaves and find a large surface to work on. spread out a few vine leaves at a time, veins facing up.
Place a small amount (around 1-2tsp) of mixture to the centre of each vine leaf (remember the mixture will be larger when the rice cooks.
Fold up the bottom tightly, then the sides, then roll to the top firmly and place into the large pot on top of the potatoes.






Place them in opposite directions for each layer.
Repeat until you've used all the vine leaves (if you have any rice mixture left over you can cook it separately and use it for stuffed peppers!)


Mix the tomato paste, reserved lemon juice and approx. 2 1/4 litres water together.
Place pot on the stove and drizzle over some olive oil (it will sink to all layers).
Pour the tomato mixture over the vine leaves (it should cover the top layer) and place a plate that fits inside the pot on top of the vine leaves to prevent them from floating.


Bring pot to boil then turn down to a gentle simmer for approx. 1 - 1 1/2 hours.  Cooking time will differ for different amounts of vine leaves. Just test one from the middle to make sure the rice is cooked through.

Once cooked through place a large tray or plate on top of the pot and flip it over so that you have a pile of stuffed vine leaves with the potato on the top. They are ready to eat straight away but might be a bit hot. The potato tastes delicious too!

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