WARAK ENAB – STUFFED GRAPE LEAVES
I often wonder of the vine,
That grows the grapes that make the wine.
Around the world we share this juice,
It tastes so good. It makes us loose.
Of this drink I do partake,
But wake up with a great headache.
To shun this vitis all together,
Would make me sad, under the weather.
So I don’t remain dejected,
To this stem I stay connected.
Not for display or pretty bouquet,
These go on my dinner tray.
I would not mind to eat alone,
But before you judge or throw a stone,
Try one stuffed with meat and rice,
You might think it tastes quite nice.
Soaked in a bath of lemony stock,
A little tart but it won’t shock.
There really is no good excuse
Grab one, dip it in hummus.
No longer will you be polite,
For them you will gladly fight.
And you will find out just like I,
Both fruit and leaf can make you high.
RECIPE FOR STUFFED GRAPE LEAVES
100 fresh grape leaves or 2 jars of grape leaves
1 1/2 lbs. ground top sirloin
1 1/2 cups rice
1 medium sized onion (quartered)
1 cup fresh mint leaves, washed/dried & loosely packed
3 Yukon Gold Potatoes, sliced rounds 1/4 inch thick
2 garlic cloves, whole
1/4 red chile pepper
1 TBSP allspice
1 TBSP kosher salt
2 TBSP Butter, cut in small pieces
2 TBSP Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 tsp black pepper
1/2 cup lemon juice
3 1/2 cups chicken stock
In a food processor, add the onion, mint and red chile pepper. Mix until pureed. Place meat in a large mixing bowl. Add the pureed mixture, uncooked rice, allspice, salt and pepper. Mix well (preferably by hand.) Place in refrigerator.
For fresh grape leaves, give them a rinse in cold water and pat dry. Cut off all stems. For jarred grape leaves, soak them in cold water for ten minutes. Drain the water and soak again for another ten minutes. Take them out of the water and pat dry. Cut off all stems.
Take the meat mixture out of the refrigerator. Lay a leaf in front of you, vein side up so that the shiny part of the leaf is on the bottom. Put about one tablespoon of meat at the stem part of the leaf. Roll the bottom part of the leaf up to encase the filling. Next, fold in the sides of the leaf. Finish it off by rolling upward. (See photos below)
Once the leaves have been rolled, add the olive oil to the bottom of the pot. Line the bottom with the sliced potatoes and add a pinch of salt. Then start layering the leaves on top of the potatoes, starting from the outside and working your way inward. Once you have completed one layer, begin another on top.
When the grape leaves are all in the pot, add the chicken stock, lemon juice, whole garlic cloves and butter. Place a plate, face down, on top of the grape leaves to keep them from unwrapping while they cook. Cover the pot and bring to a boil. Once the liquid is boiling, bring the heat down to low and simmer for 45 minutes. Let stand for another fifteen. There should still be a little liquid at the bottom of the pot. Pour it over the leaves once they have been served, or sop it up with a piece of pita bread!