Here we are in Istanbul, enjoying some beautiful weather, and even more importantly, some beautiful food.
My mother in law has got to be one of the best cooks I’ve ever met. She puts so much effort and care into every dish that she makes, you can taste the love.
Since we’ve been gone, she has slightly changed the way she makes her stuffed grape leaves. The change isn’t with the taste, it’s with the look of them. She use to roll hundreds of little small rolls, not any more. Now she is making them bigger.
She says she is getting older, and that making them this way is easier for her. She no longer has to sit and roll leaves for hours, she says it has cut the time in half.
I think that as long as she is still making them for us, all is good!
Usually, when we get together, her and I take a morning, watch a movie and roll up a lot of grape leaves, cabbage and stuff some peppers. We cook it all up, and then freeze most of it so that there are always some ready to eat.
It’s so much more fun to do it with some one else. A few months ago, I made them at home alone, and it just wasn’t the same without someone to talk to.
This recipe is actually really easy, and it doesn’t need to be measured exactly, you can add or leave out as many of the spices according to what you like, or what you have on hand. You can also use this stuffing recipe to stuff whatever you have on hand, grape leaves, cabbage, peppers, onions, zucchini, eggplant or tomatoes…
My Mother in Laws Stuffed Grape Leaves
Grape leaves (at least thirty, rinsed and ready to go)
2 cups of rice, soaked and rinsed, drained
1 green pepper
1 handful of fresh parsley
1 small handful of fresh dill
1 tbsp oregano
Put two tbsp of the olive oil, and lightly fry the rice until it starts to go transparent.
In a food processor, finely chop the onion, green pepper, tomato, parsley, and dill.
Mix the rice, vegetables and the remaining seasonings in a bowl.
Take a grape leaf in the palm of your hand, or flat on a board in front of you, put a line of the rice mixture along the bottom. Fold up the bottom, and then fold the two sides over and roll in up.
Put the stuffed grape leaves into a pot, and continue rolling and putting them close together in your pot until you run out of leaves or stuffing.
Slice some lemon, and cover the top of the grape leaves. Fill with boiling water and continue cooking until the water is gone, but the bottom isn’t burnt. If the water is gone, but they are not cooked, add some more boiling water.
I’ve also cooked these in the oven in an earthenware pot.
Serving Suggestion- serve hot with plain yoghurt, or let them cool, and eat alone.
Freeze some of them, and reheat them as needed. If you have stuffing left over, you can also freeze that!