You may have tried the cabbage rolls and liked them. If so, this one is not very different, except you use vine (grape) leaves instead of (sour) cabbage. Of course, the taste is different, but the principle is the same… I like the pork and beef mixture, but you can easily change it to any type of meat you like – or simply vegetarian (for this, replace meat with mushrooms).
You’ll need: 1 jar vine leaves (find them at the European food stores around Calgary), 300 gr minced meat (as I said, I do the half pork/ half beef combination), 1/4 cup of white rice, 1 big can diced tomatoes, 1 small can tomato sauce, 1 onion, dry parsley, basil, oregano, oil, salt and pepper.
- In a frying pan, put a bit of oil and fry the finely chopped onion for 2 minutes.
- Add minced meat and spices (parsley, basil, oregano, pepper) and salt. Fry for some 5-7 minutes (the meat does not have to be fully cooked). Drain oil and set mixture aside.
- Optional: using the oil from the meat, cook the rice for 3-4 minutes. Drain and incorporate in the meat mixture. If using rice, make sure you do not fully stuff the vine leave, as the rice will grow.
- On a plate, unfold the vine leaves. Use a spoon to take some meat, place it on the vine leaf, and then roll. My way of rolling the leaves is to put the meat right in the center, fold the left/ right margins, then roll.
- In a big pan, stack the rolls. Add the diced tomatoes, the tomato sauce and some water. The liquid has to fully cover the rolls. Add as much water as needed.
- Boil on the stove for some 20-30 minutes, then put in the oven. Leave covered for the first 20 minutes, then remove lid and bake for 20 minutes more.
- Serve hot with sour cream and polenta.