I love the cuisines of so many different countries, but I have to say that traditional Turkish cuisine holds a special place in my heart. Partly it’s because I love the rich flavors and unexpected flavor combinations, and partly because my amazing teacher-mentor-friend Chef Channon Mondoux’s passion for the cuisine is really infectious! She wrote an amazing e-book full of traditional recipes, called “Celebration at the Sarayi,” and just watching it makes my mouth water (yep, you too can cook amazing Turkish cuisine–the book is downloadable!). I didn’t use the recipe from the book for this particular batch, but it was definitely my inspiration.
I started by mixing up the filling:
Cooked brown rice, parsley, onions, walnuts (you can use pistachios, but Thadd’s allergic), mint, dates, dried currants, dried apricots, EVOO, and spices. Once that was all mixed, I popped open my jar of grape leaves, drained them, ad then washed the leaves. Wring them out well after you’re done washing. Then, lay them out and put a spoonful of stuffing onto the closest corner of the leaf to you:
Starting at the edge closest, roll the leaf, tucking in the right and left “ends” to form a packet:
Layer your packets tightly in a large saucepan. This is what one jar of leaves made for me:
Cover with broth or water about 2/3 full, and cover tightly. I simmered mine for about 45 minutes. Eat chilled or cold–they’re great!