Prep 30 mins
Cook 2 hrs
These are not made in tomato sauce, but in chicken broth and lemon juice, and I think the flavor combination is really good. This is from the middle eastern cookbook by Tess Mallos. My husband is Palestinian, but this recipe came from the Cyprus section of the book. I'm not a big fan of grape leaf rolls as normally prepared in the Middle East with tomato sauce but these I can actually enjoy, especially with the sauce. I have modified it slightly but not much, and have tried to emphasize the places I have gone wrong with this recipe in the past to help you get it right the first time.
- 12 ounces preserved grape leaves or 60 fresh grape leaves
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons corn oil
- 1 1⁄2 lbs ground beef (if you live near an hallal butcher ask for Iraqi Kabob, it is a flavorful mixture of both) or 1 1⁄2 lbs lamb (if you live near an hallal butcher ask for Iraqi Kabob, it is a flavorful mixture of both)
- 1⁄2 cup rice
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
- 2 teaspoons finely chopped mint
- 1 1⁄2 teaspoons salt
- black pepper
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 2 cups chicken broth (and I even add a chicken cube for more flavor)
Egg and lemon sauce
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1 1⁄2 cups chicken broth
- 2 eggs
- 1 -2 tablespoon lemon juice
- white pepper (I never have this so I use black, you just get little flecks in you sauce, still yummy!)
- Rinse grape leaves in cold water and blanch in boiling water for three minutes in three or four lots. Remove to basin of cold water with slotted spoon then into colander to drain. (This is the hard part for me, as the leaves tend to want to come apart).
- Gently fry onion in oil until soft. Lightly mix meat, rice, onion, oil, herbs, salt and pepper until will combined.
- Place a grape leaf, shiny side down on a work surface. Snip of stem if necessary. Place about a tablespoon of mixture near stem end, fold end and sides over stuffing and roll up firmly. Stuffing will make about 4 dozen rolls (you will be an expert roller when you are finished!).
- Line base of a heavy pan with six leaves(use the ones that fell apart during the blanching) pack the rolls on top in layers close together to keep them from falling apart during cooking (I have discovered the hard way this is VERY important). Sprinkle lemon juice over every layer.
- Cover top of rolls with remaining grape leaves. Add butter, chicken stock and remaining lemon juice. Invert a heavy plate on top to keep rolls in shape during cooking (also VERY important).
- Cover pan with lid and place over medium heat. Bring to a slow simmer, then simmer gently over LOW heat for 1 1/2 - 2 hours.
- To make sauce: melt butter in a small sauce pan and stir in flour. Cook 2 minutes with out browning and stir in the stock stir constantly until sauce thickens and bubbles.
- Beat eggs in a bowl until frothy and beat in one tablespoon of lemon juice. Pour hot sauce into eggs gradually, beating constantly (you really can do this with two hands) Return sauce to pan and stir over gentle heat for two minutes to cook the egg. Care must be taken as sauce could curdle. If this happens, sprinkle a little cold water into sauce and beat with egg whisk.
- Drain cooked rolls (CAREFULLY) and arrange on a serving dish, garnish with parsley and lemon slices, serve egg and lemon sauce in a separate sauce boat.
- You can also serve these cold without the sauce.
This is called Koupepia in The Complete Middle East Cookbook by Tess Mallos.