Veal, Almond and Sour Cherry Stuffed Vine Leaves

For something a little different to serve at suppertime, try Silvena Rowe's delicious veal, sour cherry and almond-stuffed vine leaves
By Silvena Rowe
Veal, Almond and Sour Cherry Stuffed Vine Leaves
  • Rating:
  • Serves: makes 40
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Prep Time: 45 minutes
  • Effort: easy

Ingredients

  • 300 g packet vine leaves
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium shallot, peeled and finely chopped
  • 400 g veal, minced finely
  • 150 g long grain rice
  • 100 ml chicken stock
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 80 g slivered almonds
  • 80 g sour dried cherries
  • small bunch of parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp fresh mint, chopped
  • black pepper

Method

1. Remove the vine leaves and drain in a colander. Pour hand-hot water over them and drain again.

2. Heat the olive oil in a deep frying pan over a medium heat, add the shallot and cook until soft.

3. Add the veal mince and cook until the meat is browned, stirring all the time. Add the rice and chicken stock and simmer for about 10 minutes. Stir in the cumin and season to taste.

4. When most of the liquid has been absorbed, add the sliced almonds, and sour cherries.

5. Turn off the heat, cover with a clean kitchen towel and lid, and leave to stand for 10 minutes. Add the chopped parsley and mint, and mix well.

6. Line a large heavy saucepan with about 5 of the leaves.

7. Lay a vine leaf on the work surface, stalk towards you, and put a heaped teaspoon of the veal mixture just above the stalk and just below the middle of the leaf. Wrap the vine leaf by folding from the stalk. Then fold both sides of the leaf into the centre and roll the leaf up to make a cylinder. Continue until all the stuffing is used up, setting aside about 3-5 leaves to cover.

8. Place each stuffed leaf in the lined pan join side down, packing them tightly with about 15-20 in each layer. You should have 2 layers. Add enough water to cover three quarters of the stuffed vine leaves.

9. Cover with about 3-5 leaves and place a plate (just smaller than the pan) on top to weigh the stuffed leaves down.

10. Simmer over a slow and gentle heat for about 45 minutes, leave to cool in the juices. Serve with Bulgarian yogurt.

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