Chickpea & Bulgur Stuffed Grape Leaves
Think hummus meets tabbouleh in these vegetarian stuffed grape leaves, bursting with chickpeas, parsley and bulgur tied together with a lemony, garlicky sauce. The grape leaves will seem soft when just finished cooking, but will firm up as they cool. We prefer these at room temperature or cold--perfect for bringing to work for lunch.
Make Ahead Tip: Cover and refrigerate cooked grape leaves for up to 3 days. Reheat with a little water in a skillet or in the microwave. Or freeze uncooked grape leaves in a single layer on a baking sheet, then transfer to an airtight container and freeze for up to 3 mon
Notes: Jars of grape leaves can be found with other Middle Eastern ingredients in large supermarkets, Middle Eastern markets, natural-foods stores or online at amazon.com. We like the texture and quality of Sadaf, Ziyad, Roland and Yergat brands. If you can only find a 32-ounce jar, you can freeze the leftover leaves in an airtight container for up to 6 months. If you have access to fresh grape leaves, you could harvest your own to use instead. Select medium-size leaves from unsprayed grapevines in late spring or early summer, when they will be at their most tender.
Tahini is a thick paste of ground sesame seeds. Look for it in large supermarkets in the Middle Eastern section or near other nut butters.
The tart red berries of the Mediterranean sumac bush add fruity, sour flavor to many regional dishes. Find ground sumac in Middle Eastern markets, specialty food shops and online at penzeys.com.
Bulgur is made by parboiling, drying and coarsely grinding or cracking wheat berries. Don't confuse bulgur with cracked wheat, which is just that--cracked wheat. Since the parboiling step is skipped, cracked wheat must be cooked for up to an hour whereas bulgur simply needs a quick soak in hot water for most uses. Look for it in the natural-foods section of large supermarkets, near other grains.
Tip: If you don't have any leftover leaves to line the pan, cut a potato into 1/2-inch-thick slices and place in the bottom of the pan to prevent the stuffed leaves from sticking.
How to Arrange Stuffed Grape Leaves in the Pan: The stuffed grape leaves should be tightly packed in your saucepan to prevent them from floating up and unwrapping during cooking. Working with about half of the stuffed grape leaves, nestle them into your pan in concentric circles, working from the outer edge toward the center. Make a second layer directly on top of the first with the remaining stuffed grape leaves.