Stuffed Vine Leaves

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Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Medium

Appears in

Floyd Around the Med

Floyd Around the Med

By Keith Floyd

Published 2000

  • About

Because these are fiddly to prepare, and because they are best eaten cold, it is wise to make them the day before you plan to eat them.

You could add finely minced lamb or beef to the filling, cooked with a little tomato sauce like a dry bolognese sauce.

Ingredients

  • 50-60 vine leaves (available in vacuum packs or, if you are lucky, loose in brine from a good specialist food shop)
  • 2 large onions, finely chopped
  • 1 bunch of peppery spring onions, very finely chopped.
  • 1 good bunch of fresh dill, very finely chopped
  • 1 bunch of fresh mint, finely chopped
  • cups rice, well rinsed, drained and dried
  • olive oil
  • juice of 4 lemons
  • 500 ml/18 fl oz tomato passata
  • sea salt and black pepper
  • lemon wedges, to serve

Method

Blanch the vine leaves a few at a time in lightly salted boiling water, then cool them in a bowl of cold water. Drain and lay out flat on a work surface.

Mix together all the remaining ingredients except the lemon juice and tomato passata, adding a dash of olive oil. Place a small amount of the mixture on each leaf, turn in the sides and then roll them into little sausage shapes. Next, coat the base of a large saucepan with olive oil and cover the bottom with spare vine leaves, unfolded. Then arrange the stuffed vine leaves in circles to cover the bottom of the pan and build up layers until you have used them all up. Add the lemon juice and enough water just to cover the vine rolls. Find a plate or bowl that fits exactly inside the saucepan. Put this on top of the vine rolls to stop them floating up during the cooking process.

Bring to the boil and then simmer gently until the liquid has disappeared and the rice is practically cooked. If there is any liquid left at this stage, carefully strain it off. Now add the tomato sauce and continue to simmer until the rice is fully cooked. Leave to cool and then refrigerate overnight in the saucepan (do not attempt to turn them out while they are warm as they will break up into a shambolic mess!).

Next day, arrange the stuffed vine leaves on a serving dish in a single layer and pour the sauce over. Grind some coarse black pepper over the lot and serve with wedges of lemon.