This appetizer is a version of classic Greek dolmades, flavored here with dill, parsley, and savory. You can stuff leaves ahead and reheat in tomato sauce just before serving. Look for bottled grape leaves in Greek or Italian markets, or with the Mediterranean foods or olives in supermarkets.
4 cups water
1 cup uncooked long-grain brown rice
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 cup thinly sliced leek (about 1 large)
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 tablespoons chopped toasted pine nuts
2 tablespoons dried currants
1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon grated fresh lemon rind
1/2 teaspoon dried savory
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper, divided
1 (14.5-ounce) can crushed tomatoes, undrained
24 bottled large grape leaves
How to Make It
Bring water to a boil in a medium saucepan; add rice and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 40 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat; uncover and cool to room temperature.
Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. Add leek; cook 10 minutes or until tender, stirring frequently (do not brown). Add garlic; cook 1 minute. Reserve 1/4 cup leek mixture; stir remaining leek mixture into rice. Stir parsley and next 7 ingredients (parsley through 1/8 teaspoon salt) into rice mixture. Add 1/8 teaspoon pepper.
Combine reserved 1/4 cup leek mixture, tomatoes, and 1/8 teaspoon black pepper in skillet; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes. Remove from heat.
Rinse grape leaves with cold water; drain well. Pat dry with paper towels. Remove stems; discard. Select 24 large leaves; reserve remaining leaves for another use. Spoon 1 rounded tablespoon of rice mixture onto center of each grape leaf. Bring 2 opposite points of leaf to center; fold over filling. Beginning at 1 short side, roll up leaf tightly, jelly roll fashion. Repeat procedure with remaining leaves.
Nestle stuffed grape leaves, seam sides down, in tomato sauce. Cover and cook over medium-low heat 20 minutes or until thoroughly heated.
These were yummy but too time-consuming by far to make them worth the effort. The filling was a little bland, and I think there is actually an error, saying to cook the rice in 4 cups water (it should probably be 2 cups), because it made the rice risotto-y in texture.
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