Stuffed Grape Leaves

“This recipe from The Silver Palate Cookbook has served me well for many years. These can be made ahead of time for a party or reception the next day. Store bought are fine, but I like to use our own Chardonnay grape leaves, and my own home-grown tomatoes.”
– Katie Wetzel Murphy, AVV Ambassador and Family Partner

– Makes Approximately 50 –

50 medium size preserved grape leaves, 1 or 2 jars
1 lb. very lean lamb, ground
16 oz. canned Italian plum tomatoes, crushed
1 cup raw long-grain rice
1 cup AVV or best-quality olive oil
2 bunches scallions (green onions), chopped
3 cups loosely packed fresh mint leaves, chopped
juice of 2 lemons
yogurt, plain
salt, coarsely ground

Method of Preparation:
1) Drain the grape leaves, separate them and rinse them under running water, being careful not to
tear them. Reserve.
1) Combine lamb, crushed tomatoes and their liquid, rice, olive oil, scallions and mint.
2) Lay a grape leaf, vein side up, stem toward you, on your work surface. Place 1 tablespoon of filling at the base of the leaf and roll up, tucking in excess leaf at the sides to make a tiny bundle. Repeat with remaining filling and leaves, packing each bundle seam side down into a small kettle.
3) Squeeze lemon juice over the leaf bundles, and add water to nearly cover. Weight with 1 or 2 small plates or saucers. Cover, bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 1 hour, or until rice in stuffing is completely cooked.
4) Serve hot, or cool and refrigerate the leaves in their cooking liquid. Offer plain yogurt seasoned to taste with lemon juice and coarse salt as a dip or sauce.

Enjoy with a glass of the 2014 AVV Estate Cabernet Franc.