Happy Friday everyone! This week we’re making a variation of the grape leaf recipe we shared. This time we’re making a simple tomato sauce with lemon and garlic, and we’re adding some seasoning to our ground beef to give these grape leaves a different flavor.
To start, we’re going to season these grape leaves with 7 spice, white and black pepper, and salt. 7 Spice is mix of allspice, black pepper, cinnamon, ground cloves, coriander, cumin, and nutmeg. Depending on where you live, this seasoning can be difficult to find. If you can’t find it you can always make a quick version by combining pumpkin pie spice with pepper, cumin, and coriander. Usually I eyeball it when I make this but if I had to guess it’d be about ½ tsp pumpkin pie spice to ¼ tsp of pepper, cumin, and coriander. That said, if you like coriander more than cumin, you could always increase the amount you use when making this yourself. This seasoning will give this dish, as well as whatever else you use it in, a nice warm nuttiness and works well in almost all popular middle eastern dishes. In these grape leaves it will add depth to the onion, tomato, and beef that we use as a filling.
The other element to these grape leaves is the tomato sauce. Like I said, it’s an extremely simple sauce but, more often than not, simplicity is the key to the extraordinary! Normally, this sauce is also made with dried mint but I opted to leave that out this time. The lemon juice the sauce a little bit of a citrusy hint that brings a very slight refreshing flavor when combined with stuffed grape leaves.
That’s it for me this week, if you want to see how I made these click the video below or keep scrolling for the full recipe!
1 lb Midamar Halal Ground Beef 93/7
1 ½ cup rice, washed 5 times and soaked in water for 30 minutes
1 medium tomato, finely chopped
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
3 tbsp freshly chopped parsley, stems removed
1 tbsp fresh mint, finely chopped, about 15 leaves
¼ tsp black pepper
¼ tsp white pepper
½ tsp seven spice
Salt to taste
Jar of grape leaves, rinsed and stems removed
28 oz can of tomato puree or crushed tomatoes
¼ cup olive oil
Kitchen twine and scissors
½ - ¾ cup lemon juice, divided
3 garlic cloves
- Combine beef, rice, tomato, onion, parsley, mint, black pepper, white pepper, seven spice, and salt to taste in a large mixing bowl. Using gloved hands, thoroughly combine.
- Lay a grape leaf out on a cutting board, place ~1 tbsp of stuffing just above the stem. Mold stuffing into a cigar shape, adding or removing meat as needed. Wrap the left and right sides of the leaf around the stuffing. Pull the bottom of the leaves up over the stuffing tightly. Roll the leaf up and set aside. Repeat until out of leaves or out of meat mixture.
- Stack 5-6 stuffed leaves on top of each, measure out a length of twine, cut the twine and tie around the grape leaves to create small packages.
- Place packages in a nonstick Dutch oven. Cover packages in tomato sauce, olive oil, salt, and ½ cup lemon juice. Add water until all grape leaves are submerged.
- Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes
- After 30 minutes add the remaining lemon juice and garlic cloves, simmer for an additional 30 minutes. Turn of heat and remove packages from sauce
- Let cool for about 5 minutes, cut twine and serve covered in sauce