Refreshing... tangy... delicious... A perfect summer dinner/ lunch or a great finger food to take on trips. Great warm or cold! These "grape rolls", come somewhere from the Mediterranean - mid east cuisine.
Good to make it in the summer time when the grape vines are full of leaves... Make Sure to pick only the tender newer leaves as the older leaves tend to stay really stringy even after cooking.
1 T olive oil (or more if more is needed for sautéing the onions)
2 onions minced
2 cups uncooked short grain brown rice (or any kind you have)
2 tomatoes chopped
1/2 cup sundried tomatoes or 1 T tomato paste or just 2 more tomatoes
2 T raisins (or more)
2 T pinenuts or sunflower seeds (or more)
1 T cinnamon
1 T dill leaves(optional)
1 tsp allspice
1 tsp ground cumin
Lots of mint (fresh or dry) ;) (well according to your taste)
Grape leaves off the vines with the stems (of the leaf) or I think you can buy grape leaves in brine at a grocery store (but I don't know how good or bad that might taste)
1-2 T lemon or lime juice to squeeze on top.
Sauté the onions in oil until light brown and soft.
Add two and a half cups of water.
Add some salt.
Cook the rice covered on low heat until the water is dry (absorbed).
It will be half cooked. Turn the heat off.
Add all the remaining spices, tomatoes, mint, raisins and nuts and mix it up.
Taste for salt.
Separate the stems off the grape leaves. Arrange these stems on the bottom of a baking pan like a grill so the rolls don't burn on bottom.
Blanch grape leaves in boiling water for 10-15 seconds. Do it 5-6 leaves at a time.
Drop 1-2 Tablespoon or more of the rice mixture on the back side of the leaves (depending on how large the leaves are).
Fold the side wings first...
and then roll it up.
Arrange these rolls tightly in a baking pan. You can stack two layers one on top of the other. you may separate the layer with dill and/or mint stems from which you have pulled the leaves off to add to the rice, and/or thin lemon slices.
Squeeze the lemon juice on the rolls. Cover t up tghtly with aluminum foil and bake these at 350 for not more than an hour until the rice is all the way cooked. It usually gets done faster.