Stuffed Grape Leaves

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Ingredients:

1 8-ounce jar grape leaves

1/2 head raw cauliflower

3 tablespoons pine nuts (optional)

3 tablespoons raisins

1 pound ground lamb

1/2 medium raw onion

1 tablespoon dried mint (I couldn’t find any, so I used mint tea bags)

2 teaspoons Lebanese  Seven Spice Blend

1/2 cup fresh parsley leaves

2 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

2-3 cups water, boiling

2 fresh lemons

2 large egg yolks (optional)

 

Method:

1.) Remove the grape leaves from the jar, place in a large mixing bowl and cover with hot water for about 15 minutes. IMG_9817
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2.) While the grape leaves are soaking.  Break up the cauliflower into florets, place in food processor and pulse until cauliflower looks like rice.  Keep cauliflower rice in large mixing bowl, no need to clean food process, just set to the side.

3.) Heat a dry skillet over medium heat, then add the pine nuts and raisins, stir often for about 3-5 minutes until the pine nuts are golden brown.  Once ingredients have cooled, chop and add to cauliflower mixture.

4.) Place the lamb, onion, mint, Lebanese Seven Spice, parsley, garlic, salt, and pepper into a food processor and puree until ingredients form a paste.  Add paster to cauliflower rice and mix well. (I used my hands)

5.) Pick out a saucepan  to put your rolled up Grape Leaves (around 3 quarts).

6.) Place a leaf on a flat surface with the shiny side down, snip of the steams and place one tablespoon of lamb/rice filling on the end of the leaf closest to you.  Roll from the bottom, fold in the sides, and keep rolling until you have a cigar shape.  Be sure to roll them tightly so they do not come undone while cooking.  Place rolls in a pan close to one another. Wrapping Grape Leaves

7.) Cut one of the lemons into thin slices and arrange on top of the dolmas in the pan.  Place a plate on the saucer on top of the dolmas and press down, then pour boiling water into the pan and cover the plate (about two cups).  * I didn’t do the plate, but I wished that I had to keep the dolmas submerged.  Put the lid on the pot and simmer for about 25-30 minutes, the leaves should be tender and snappy. (Keep and eye on it; you want a few bubbles but not a rolling bowl.

8.) Carefully remove the plate and drain the water from the pan.  Cover with the lid so they stay hot.  In a small bowl, whisk the juice from the remaining lemon with the egg yolks until frothy.  Pour over the dolmas, then put the lid back on the pot.  The hot dolmas with gently cook the egg/lemon sauce to create a tangy coating.

9.) Remove the dolmas from the pan, place covered in the fridge, and wait until they’re chilled.  They taste great cold, room temp or hot.  I recommend not eating them directly out of the pan, as I think they are best chilled with a sprinkle of salt.

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