How to Make Stuffed Grape Leaves
Hi, I'm Stacy, test kitchen manager here at EatingWell. Today I am going to show you how to roll stuffed grape leaves. And then, how to arrange them in your pan before you cook so they don't float up and unroll during cooking. The Mediterranean diet is one of the healthiest in the world, and stuffed grape leaves are enjoyed in many countries throughout the region. EatingWell makes them even healthier by substituting instant brown rice for white rice in the filling. Before I began, I actually purchased my grape leaves right from the supermarket, in the Mediterranean section with the other Greek and Middle Eastern foods. I like to work on a clean kitchen towel to help prevent the moist grape leaves from sticking to my work surface while I roll them. I start by placing about four whole grape leaves at a time on my dish towel. Position the grape leaves with the stem end pointing toward you and the stem end up. Take a pair of kitchen shears or a paring knife and snip off the top stem that you don't want to eat. And then shape your filling. Take approximately one tablespoon of filling and shape it into a 2-inch log. Place it in the center of your leaf. Today I'm using a classic lamb and rice filling. To roll the grape leaf, first I'm just going to fold the bottom of the leaf over the filling. Tuck in the sides, one at a time. And then continue tightly rolling into a cigar shape. Just like that. When you're ready to cook your stuffed grape leaves, you want to line your pot (I'm using a large saucepan for about 50 grape leaves) with any of your leftover grape leaves or torn or broken leaves. This helps prevent stuffed grape leaves from sticking to the bottom of the pot while they cook. When you're cooking grape leaves, they're simmering in water for 30 to 45 minutes, and when they're simmering in water, you want to make sure that they don't float up in the water and unroll. And the way you prevent that is by packing them tightly into the pan. I like to use a sort of concentric circle pattern here, positioning the grape leaves end to end, with the seam side down, to pack them in as tightly as possible. And then you add approximately two tablespoons of lemon juice. Drizzle it right over your grape leaves. This helps to season the water and then in the end gives a great lemon taste to your grape leaves. There's two tablespoons for that layer. And we do one more layer. I'm going to put this plate directly on top. That plate is not going to be quite heavy enough to hold the grape leaves down so I'm going to put a small heatproof bowl and then fill it halfway or three quarters full with water. And these two combined together will act as a weight to hold the grape leaves down while they simmer on the stove. Add enough water to your pot to cover the grape leaves completely. And you're ready to cook.