A passion for food + fashion

Persian Cooking Club: Grape Leaves Stuffed with Lamb and Rice

In Food, Recipes on January 19, 2012 at 12:25 pm

My friend Vanessa, who is half Persian, hosted this month’s cooking club—the theme for which was Persian cooking. Check out the above spread! So impressive. We’re lucky in Los Angeles in that we have great Persian restaurants thanks to a large Iranian population but as much as I enjoy the cuisine, I’d never tried my hand at it at home. There are some similarities with Greek cuisine, but I found that with the dish I chose to tackle—Dolmeh-Yeh Barg-E Mow, or stuffed grape leaves—the flavors were far different than any of its Greek counterparts I’d tried. I loved the combination of tart lime juice with sweet fresh mint, tarragon and ground lamb. The recipe below yields extra rice filling, which I used with a little feta in tortilla wraps for lunch later in the week.

DOLMEH-YEH BARG-E MOW (Stuffed Grape Leaves)

1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3 large garlic cloves, minced
1 cup long-grain white rice
4 cups canned chicken broth
1/3 cup minced fresh parsley
1/4 cup minced fresh mint
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
1/2 lb ground lamb
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 8-ounce jar grape leaves, drained

Heat 1/4 cup oil in heavy medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add onion and garlic. Sauté until very tender, about 10 minutes. Add rice and stir 1 minute. Add 2 cups broth, cover and simmer until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes. Transfer to bowl. [SIDE NOTE: THIS METHOD PRODUCED SOME OF THE MOST DELICIOUS, TENDER RICE!] Mix in tarragon, green onions, parsley and mint. Season with salt and pepper. Add 2 tablespoons lime juice. In saucepan, cook ground lamb and add to rice mixture along with tomato paste. Mix in and cool completely (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover; chill.)
Place grape leaves in bowl. Cover with cold water and let stand 30 minutes. Drain. Cut off stems. Arrange 1 leaf veined side up on work surface. Place 1 rounded tablespoon of rice filling onto leaf near stem end and tightly roll up filling in leaf, folding in sides and squeezing roll to pack filling.
Repeat with remaining leaves and filling. Place seam side down in 2 heavy 12-inch skillets. Divide remaining 3 tablespoons oil, lime juice and 2 cups broth between skillets. Cover; simmer over medium-low heat until liquid is absorbed, about 30 minutes.
Uncover and let rolls cool. Transfer to platter. Cover and chill. (Can be made 1 day ahead.)

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