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Author Notes: We don't have ribs often, save for when we order the salt n pepper variety from the Chinese.....These were a nice change, home-cooked and an expansion of my repertoire. Make sure your ribs are very well dried (remember Julia Child in Julie & Julia) or they won't brown and attain the nice brown sugar crust you seek! —Kitchen Butterfly
Makes a nice dinner bowl
For the ribs
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- Salt, to taste
- 1 kg short ribs
- 2 teaspoons mixed herbs (I used a Greek mix which has oregano, parsley, mint and thyme)
- 1 teaspoon Piment d’Espelette (or a mix of sweet paprika and chilli powder)
- 1-2 cups water
For Rice Rolls (Dolomades)
- 1 cup short grain rice (I used paella ‘La Bomba’ rice)
- 1/3 cup dried currants
- 15 natural/raw almonds, roughly chopped
- Zest of 1 lemon, and some juice
- Zest of 1 orange, and some juice
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoonspons chopped fresh herbs - parsley, coriander or mint
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 20 – 40 preserved grape leaves
- An hour before: soak the rice in water for 30 minutes to an hour. If using brined grape leaves, you will have to soak them in water to remove the salt: put them in a bowl and pour boiling water over them. Make sure that the water penetrates well between the layers, and leave them soaking for about twenty minutes, then change the water once or twice and soak them in fresh cold water.
- Start cooking the ribs: In a large dutch oven/pan/ceramic cooker, heat the oil for the ribs. Add the chopped onion with a pinch of salt. Let cook for 2-3 minutes and then add the ribs. Let underside brown slowly and then sprinkle the mixed herbs over the top. Turn over and let the other bits brown a bit. Finally add the garlic and let cook for about a minute. Then add the piment d’espelette, followed by the water. Let simmer for about 10 minutes, checking for seasoning. Remove from heat and set aside while you make the rice rolls.
- Cooking the rice: Drain the soaked rice and combine with the currants, almonds, citrus zests, garlic, salt, olive oil and fresh herbs. Stir well to combine.
- Drain the grape leaves from their cold water soak and then get ready to roll. Place a grape leaf on a flat surface, vein side up. You can trim the little stem if you would like.I found out that some of my leaves were torn and so I doubled them, using 2 leaves per roll. Place about two teaspoons (10 ml) of the filling in the center of the leaf, near the stem edge. Roll the leaf end to end, starting from the stem edge. As you roll, fold the sides of the leaf in toward the center. The leaf should resemble a small cigar, about 2 to 2 1/2 inches (50 mm to 65mm) long.
- Preheat the oven to moderate 350°F/180°C/gas mark 4. Place the completed rolls over the browned ribs, till the ribs are all covered with rice parcels. Repeat with the remaining leaves and filling. Cover the top with some more grape leaves if you have any left. Otherwise, don't worry.
- Weigh down the grape leaves with a heat proof plate or board to prevent them from unraveling and place the pan in the oven. Cook for an hour or until the rice in the leaves is soft or to your taste. Alternatively, cover and bring to a boil on the stovetop over medium high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 40 minutes.
- Ensure that in the course of cooking, you spoon cooking liquid over the grape leaves to prevent them from drying out
- Serve with some crumbled feta cheese, Greek/Turkish yogurt, crusty bread to dip and mojo picon ( a spicy hot spanish sauce)
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Short Ribs