This is my first time of making stuffed grape leaves. I always think it must be pretty challenging and tedious preparing such a meal. After I tried to make it, it is actually not as challenging as thought. I am so glad that I tried it. And will be making this from time to time.
recipe adapted from Poopa Dweck's Aroma of Aleppo: The Legendary Cuisine of Syrian Jews
makes 20 - 22 yebra
1 pound lean ground lamb
2 tsp kosher salt
1/3 cup basmati rice
1¼ cup pine nuts
1 small onion, diced
1 tsp cinnamon powder
1 tsp allspice, grind to powder
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 cup finely chopped Italian parsley
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 medium size waxy potatoes (Yukon gold), peeled - slice into 1/4 inch thick
2 ripe and juicy tomatoes, slice into 1/2 inch thick
2 tbs golden raisins
20 - 22 preserved grape leaves
2 tbs olive oil
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
water as needed
Wash basmati rice a few times until the water is no longer cloudy. Add 1 teaspoon of salt and enough water to soak the rice for about 15 minutes - drained.
Rinse grape leaves under cold running water - pat dry with paper towel. Snip off the stems. Set aside.
In a bowl, add ground lamb, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, basmati rice, 1 cup pine nuts, diced onion, cinnamon powder, ground all spice, turmeric, parsley, and freshly ground black pepper. Mix well.
Drizzle tablespoon olive oil in a heavy bottom pan. Lay potatoes slices in single layer, lay tomato slices on top, sprinkle in 1/2 tsp salt. Set side.
Lay a piece of grape leave on a cutting board, add about 1 -to 1½ tablespoons of lamb mixture at the point where the stem end, fold over the filling, then fold both sides toward the center. Roll up into a log/cigar shape. Place it on top of potato-tomato layer, seam side down. Repeat.
Add lemon juice to the pan, add water just enough to barely cover the yebra, and the remaining 1/2 tsp salt. Scater the raisins and the remaining 1/4 of pine nuts. Place a heavy heat proof plate directly on top of yebra to prevent them from unraveling. Bring to a boil over medium hight heat. Once the water is boiling, turn the heat to low, cover the pan, and simmer for 45 minutes.
Carefully transfer yebra onto serving plate, arrange the tomatoes on top, and the potatoes on the side. Enjoy!