Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Stuffed Grape Leaves

Stuffed Grape Leaves are a Condor favorite, especially on cold overnight sails.

Because the meat is added raw to the stew, all of the fat remains in the sauce; to reduce the fat, cook meat first and drain/blot off the fat (see Scrambled Hamburger). Alternatively try the vegetarian Dolmadakia . This recipe is more like a "stew" and as such is not a good candidate for hors d'oeuvres while the Dolmadakia make an excellent hors d'oeuvres or meze dish.

The recipe below is from the original New York Times Cookbook by Craig Claiborne

1 quart jar of grape leaves
2 pounds ground lean lamb or beef [use the leanest beef you can purchase]
1 c raw rice, washed and drained
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 t thyme
1 t oregano
1 small onion, grated [I chop finely]
2 T butter [use 1 T olive oil]
3 large onions, sliced
2 quarts canned tomatoes

1. Wash the grape leaves thoroughly in cold water to remove the salt.

2. Mix the meat [see note above re: cooking first] with the rice, pepper, thyme, oregano and grated onion.

3. In a large kettle heat the butter [olive oil], add the sliced onions and cook until transparent. Add half the tomatoes and heat.

4. Stuff the grape leaves (not too tightly) with the meat mixture, using about one tablespoon of the mixture for each leaf [depending on size of leaf; use more for larger leaves]. Shape each into a neat package [roll jelly roll style, tucking in the ends about half-way through rolling] and place gently in the hot tomato sauce.  [Technique photos]

4. Heat the remaining tomatoes and pour over the top. Cover and simmer forty-five minutes to one hour.[If meat is pre-cooked simmer just until stuffed grape leaves are heated through.]

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