Rolled 3 790 xxx
photos by gluttonforlife

2.9.12 Bundles of Joy

The other day, when trawling the aisles of a favorite ethnic market in my quest for inspiring ingredients, I came across a package of brined grape leaves in the refrigerator section. It has long been my intention to try my hand at stuffing these, part of the tradition of dolma, the stuffed vegetable dishes prevalent in the cuisines of the former Ottoman Empire and surrounding regions such as Russia, the Middle East, the Caucasus, and Central and South Asia. In addition to grape leaves, onion, zucchini, eggplant, tomato and peppers are also stuffed with either a meat filling (lamb, beef or pork) or a rice- or grain-based mixture that often includes dried fruit and/or nuts. This summer I plucked handfuls of grape leaves off the vines at River Brook Farm, carefully blanched, rolled and tied them, then placed them in the freezer chest in our basement where they now languish, buried somewhere beneath the bags of golden raspberries, jars of shrimp stock and legs of goat. So I was quite pleased to find the ready-packaged alternative.