These tasty little morsels are great finger food for a party or as part of a mezze platter to graze on over a lazy afternoon or evening. For a dairy-free option serve with a fresh tomato sauce instead of yoghurt.
Stuffed vine leaves
35 vine leaves in brine
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 red onion, diced
¼ tsp chilli flakes
½ tsp ground coriander
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp allspice
1 cup brown rice
1 cup dry white wine
2 cups vegetable stock
1 large red pepper
1 large green pepper
½ cup kalamata olives, pitted and finely chopped
2 stalks spring onion, diced
¼ pine nuts, toasted
Handful each of fresh parsley and mint, roughly chopped
Zest of half a lemon
Juice of one lemon
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Juice of one lemon
1 ¼ cups boiling water
Greek yoghurt to serve
1. Fill sink with fresh water and wash vine leaves. Drain water, refill with more fresh water and leave vine leaves to soak while preparing the filling.
2. In a large saucepan, fry off the garlic and onion in a little olive oil over a medium heat until fragrant.
3. Add chilli, coriander, cinnamon and allspice.
4. Add rice and stir to coat with the oil mixture. Fry for a couple of minutes.
5. Add wine and turn up heat. Cook for a few minutes until you can no longer smell the alcohol in the wine.
6. Add stock, reduce heat to low and cover. Cook for approx 40 minutes, until rice is tender.
7. While the rice is cooking, blacken peppers either under grill or over a gas flame.
8. Once fully blackened on all sides, place in a bowl and cover with cling film. Set aside until cool enough to handle. (Steaming the skins makes them easier to remove).
9. Once cool, peel the skins from the peppers and discard. Roughly chop the flesh.
10. To the cooked rice add the chopped peppers, olives, spring onions, pine nuts, fresh herbs, lemon zest and juice. Stir to combine.
11. Pre-heat oven to 180ºC on Bake.
12. One at a time, take vine leaves and pat dry on clean tea towel or paper towel.
13. Lay flat and place 1 tbsp rice filling in the centre. Fold in sides, tuck under and roll to form a small parcel. Place in a wide, shallow oven-proof dish.
14. Once all the vine-leaves are stuffed, combine olive oil, lemon juice and boiling water and pour over. Cover with a plate or something heavy to prevent the leaves floating and unrolling as they cook.
15. Place in oven and bake for 35-40 minutes until leaves are tender and liquid has been absorbed.
Serve warm or at room temperature alongside a generous bowl of Greek yoghurt for dipping.
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