Vine leaves

Vine leaves

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From
Encyclopedia of Food and Cookery

Probably the most familiar use of vine leaves in cookery is to stuff them with an aromatic mixture of meats or rice. The result is delicious. These little parcels are enjoyed in the Middle East and Mediterranean countries (see Dolma, Dolmades). They are served hot or cold, with or without a sauce.

Quail and other small birds acquire a faint lemony flavour when wrapped first in bacon and then in vine leaves before cooking in a casserole. Vine leaves can also be used to line baskets for bread or fruit for a fresh and pretty effect when entertaining.

Fresh vine leaves for cooking should be medium light green and not too young. Any leaves from any vine bearing edible grapes are suitable. If you do not have fresh vine leaves, buy those preserved in brine available from good delicatessens.

Basic preparation (fresh and preserved vine leaves): Rinse leaves in cold water. Boil a large saucepan of water, drop in leaves and blanch for 3 minutes to soften leaves. Remove with a slotted spoon to a bowl of cold water; drain and dry with paper towels before using. You may have to blanch leaves in several batches.

To stuff vine leaves: Place the leaves shiny side down on a work surface. Trim off stalks. Place filling in centre of each leaf and roll up, turning in sides of leaf so filling is completely encased.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
see method for ingredients

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