Stuffed Grape Leaves Casserole
If you like stuffed grape leaves, you’ll love this casserole, which has all the flavors of the bite-size appetizers without all the rolling. You don’t have to parboil jarred grape leaves, but a quick dip in boiling water tenderizes them and removes some of their saltiness.
- 30 jarred or fresh grape leaves
- 2 Tbs. olive oil, plus more for brushing top of casserole and casserole dish
- 1 large onion, finely diced (2 cups)
- 1 cup brown rice
- 2 cups low-sodium tomato juice or vegetable juice
- 1 cup chopped unsalted, hulled pistachios
- 1 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 1 cup chopped fresh mint
- 1 cup raisins or dried currants
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- 1 lemon, sliced, for garnish
- Pomegranate molasses, for drizzling, optional
1. Dip grape leaves in large pot of boiling water 2 minutes. Drain, and set aside.
2. Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, and sauté 7 to 10 minutes, or until beginning to brown. Add rice and 21/2 cups water, and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook 30 to 40 minutes, or until liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat, and stir in tomato juice, pistachios, parsley, mint, raisins, and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper, if desired. (Mixture will be very wet.)
3. Preheat oven to 350°F. Brush 2-qt. baking dish with olive oil. Pat grape leaves dry. Line bottom and sides of baking dish with grape leaves, allowing leaves to hang over sides. Spread half of rice mixture over grape leaves. Top rice with more grape leaves, then top with remaining rice mixture. Cover casserole with remaining grape leaves, and seal by folding over grape leaves around edges. Brush top with olive oil. Bake 30 to 40 minutes, or until grape leaves on top darken and casserole looks firm and dry.
4. Dip knife in cold water. Cut straight down with tip of knife to make 8 servings, then remove servings with spatula. Garnish with lemon slices, and drizzle with pomegranate molasses (if using).
January/February 2012 p.51