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    Warab Einab (Winemaker's Stuffed Vine Leaves)

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    Warab Einab (Winemaker's Stuffed Vine Leaves)

    These vine leaves, equally good with a meat or vegetarian filling, are delicious served with their garlicky yogurt sauce as finger food or part of a buffet

    • Preparation time: 40 minutes
    • Cooking time: 120 minutes
    • Total time: 2 hours 40 minutes 60 minutes 60 minutes 40 minutes

    Makes: 40

    Ingredients

    • 2 x 227g packs vine leaves
    • Juice of 2 lemons
    • Meat Filling
    • 300g arborio rice
    • Salt and freshly ground pepper
    • 500g minced beef
    • 4 tbsp finely chopped parsley
    • 2 tbsp pine nuts
    • Sauce
    • 2 cloves garlic
    • Salt
    • 250g natural yogurt
    • Vegetarian Filling
    • 300g arborio rice
    • 250g currants
    • Juice of 1 lemon
    • 100ml water
    • 1 large red onion, very finely chopped
    • 4 tbsp finely chopped parsley
    • Salt and freshly ground pepper
    • 2 tbsp pine nuts

    Method

    1. For either filling, rinse the rice in a sieve until the water runs clear. Then soak in tepid water with 1 tsp salt for 1 hour. Drain.
    2. Meanwhile, if you're making the vegetarian filling, put the currants to soak in the lemon juice and water for 15 minutes. Drain.
    3. If you're making the meat filling, mix the drained rice with the other ingredients. If you're making the vegetarian filling, mix the soaked currants and drained rice with all the other ingredients.
    4. Drain the vine leaves and rinse in cold water, drain again and lay out to dry on kitchen paper.
    5. Use some of the leaves to line the base and sides of a heavy-bottomed casserole dish, small enough to fit the stuffed vine leaves very snugly.
    6. Take a fresh vine leaf and place 1 tsp of your filling just above the base of the leaf. Fold the base of the leaf over the filling, then fold in the sides and then roll to the end of the leaf so you have a neat parcel.
    7. As you roll your leaves, place them in the casserole. They should nestle to a very snug fit.
    8. When all the leaves are stuffed, place the casserole dish on the heat, and add boiling water to cover. Simmer over a very low heat for 2 hours. In the meat version, skim any scum that rises. In both versions, add a cup of boiling water from time to time, to keep the topmost leaves moist. Add the lemon juice 15 minutes before the end of cooking.
    9. Meanwhile, make the sauce by crushing the garlic with 1 tsp salt until the garlic is a wet paste. Stir this into the yogurt and allow the flavours to get to know each other for at least an hour, in the fridge. Serve the vine leaves warm, with the sauce. The vegetarian ones are also good served at room temperature, and both types keep well in the fridge for unexpected guests.

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