- 40 fresh medium/large vine leaves plus 4 or 5 very big ones to put at the bottom of the pan
- 100g risotto rice
- 2 small onions
- 250g minced lamb
- 10g mint
- 40g flat-leaf parsley
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 Teaspoon of ground coriander
- 1 vegetable or mutton stock cube dissolved in 450ml boiling water
- Snip the stalk from fresh vine leaves. Spread them out in a large bowl and pour boiling water over them, making sure the water penetrates the layers, and leave to soak for 5 minutes, pour away the hot water, rinse with cold water then drain.
- Rinse the rice, cover with boiling water and leave for 5 minutes. Drain and shake dry. Trim and finely chop the onions. Chop the parsley and mint. Place rice, onions, lamb and herbs in a mixing bowl. Season well with salt and black pepper. Mix thoroughly. And roughly divide into 8 equal parts. Each of these parts needs dividing into 5 so each vine leaf gets the same amount of filling.
- Prepare a heavy based pan, preferably Le cruset or something simaler by putting 4 large vine leafs at the bottom (this helps to stop them burning).
- Lay a leaf smooth side down, Place the filling, about a teaspoons worth at the base of the spine. Fold the base “wings” up over the filling, then the side wings to the middle and carry on rolling upwards, tucking the sides of the top part of the leaf as you go, to ensure that the package is secure.
- Make sure the final join is underneath when you pack the rolls snugly in layers into the pan. Pour over sufficient stock to immerse. Press down to hold the stuffed vine leaves snugly but not too tightly Into the pan and put a saucer / small shallow bowl / small plate (to help keep the rolls together) and cover the pan with as well fitting lid. Bring slowly to the boil, not fast or the rolls will unroll, when gently boiling put onto a very low heat, just to keep the rolls gently simmering for 90 minutes to 2 hours. Keep checking to make sure the pan does not boil dry.
Serve with a dip of natural yogurt into which is added crushed garlic and salt to taste.
I could buy these ready made and frozen in Alexandria and they were a staple quick meal fix for Tom, Alice and Harry when they were small.