This Greek appetizer, often referred to as Dolmas, keeps well for a week or so. Around the holidays, bring them to potlucks, or serve when company drops in. They also come in handy as part of the meal on days when there’s no time to prepare anything, and are gluten-free–another plus!
For those whose gardens are graced with grape vines, the grape leaves themselves can be easily processed at home. Well, easy unless you hit a wall, like I did last year. Had I collected the leaves from the female, fruit-bearing vines? (I’m not sure.) If so, some claim that will give the processed leaves a fabric-like texture. Could the secret be to pick from male, non-fruit-bearing vines? I’m not sure about that. But one caveat for sure: use young leaves (not picked at the end of summer!).
To make your own grape leaves for these dolmas, collect 36 or so large grape leaves during the early summer months, wash the leaves, and roll up piles of twelve. Tie them up with string and blanch in boiling water for a minute or two. Remove from boiling water and pack into quart jars. Three rolls of twelve will fit in one quart jar. Just add a mixture of 3 c. water and 1 TBS. salt; weight the leaves down if necessary to keep them covered in brine. Let sit at room temperature for 3 days or so, until darkened in color, then cover and refrigerate.
Makes approx. 30 pieces.
- 30 grape leaves (approx. one small jar, net dry weight 8 oz.)
- 2 c. brown rice
- 4 c. water
- 1/3 c. dried apricots
- 1/2 c. raisins
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1/2 c. fresh parsley
- 4 sprigs fresh spearmint (1/2 c. or so)
- 1 green apple, peeled and cored
- 1/2 of a medium onion
- 1 c. olive oil
- 2 tsp. salt
Earlier in day, or night before, bring to boil, then let simmer on low for 45 min. or so with the lid on: > 2 c. brown rice > 4 c. water
Refrigerate the cooked rice without stirring it, until cooled. Process the following in processor, or hand chop: > 1/3 c. dried apricots
To chopped apricots, also add and process/chop: > 1/2 c. raisins
Last of all, add to chopped dried fruits in processor, pulsing until finely chopped, but not pureed (or, again, hand chop): > 3 garlic cloves > 1/2 c. fresh parsley > 4 sprigs fresh spearmint > 1 green apple, peeled and cored > 1/2 of a medium onion
Finally, add all the above to the cooked, cooled rice, along with: > 1 c. olive oil > 2 tsp. salt