Vine leaves stuffed with pork

Vine leaves stuffed with pork

The Islands of Greece
Steven Joyce

I learned this recipe for yaprakia from two wonderful black-clad older ladies on Rhodes, who were so practiced at wrapping vine leaves, they could do it without even looking.


Quantity Ingredient
40 vine leaves, preserved in brine
225g minced pork
4 spring onions, finely chopped
1 tomato, seeded and grated
160g risotto rice
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon sweet paprika
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons finely chopped parsley leaves
1 tablespoon finely chopped mint leaves
1 teaspoon finely chopped dill
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1/2 lemon, juiced
2 tablespoons olive oil
Tzatziki, to serve


  1. In a large pan of unsalted boiling water, blanch the vine leaves for 3 minutes to remove any salt. Remove and refresh in cold water. Set aside.
  2. In a bowl, mix together all the other ingredients except the lemon juice and olive oil.
  3. To stuff the leaves, place a whole, intact leaf on a flat surface with the stem end facing towards you. Remove the stem, if there is one. Place about 1 tablespoon of the pork mixture in the middle of the leaf, just above where the stem was. Lift the bottom sections of the leaf up and over the filling, then bring the side edges in over it too. Roll the leaf away from you, folding in and catching the edges of the leaf neatly into the roll as you go.
  4. When you have rolled the whole leaf up, all the edges should be tucked into the roll and no filling should be visible.
  5. Line a deep saucepan with any spare small, torn or broken vine leaves. Lay the stuffed vine leaves in layers, with the loose seam of the leaf on the bottom. Pack them in tightly so they can’t unravel while cooking. When all the filling has been used up, drizzle over the lemon juice and olive oil and pour over enough water to just cover the wraps. Rest a plate or small saucepan lid on top to weigh them down, so they can’t float loose while cooking.
  6. Place the pan over a medium heat and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Lift a stuffed leaf out the pan and allow to cool slightly. Open it up and taste to check that the rice has cooked. If not, simmer the wraps for 5 more minutes and test again.
  7. When cooked, remove the wraps from the pan with a slotted spoon and allow to cool. Serve as part of a meze, with plenty of tangy tzatziki.
The Islands of Greece
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