This recipe is adapted from one I saw in the NY Times in 2010. It's made with quinoa rather than rice, which makes it kosher for Passover, where rice is a no-no for much of the Jewish world. This is a wonderful appetizer, served on a bed of mixed greens with a few kalamanta olives. —Ann Goldman
about 36 rolls
red wine vinegar
kosher salt or sea salt
neutral vegetable oil
finely chopped yellow onion
barberries or dried currents
sour salt (citric acid) OR lemon juice
Make a syrup with the vinegar and sugar. Heat the combination in a heavy pan over very low heat. Ventilate the room, the heated vinegar is very strong smelling. Simmer and stir and until the mixture becomes syrupy (it will stick to the mixing spoon and drizzle off in a thick slow stream) . Cool.
Prepare the quinoa according to the package directions.
Prepare the filling: In a skillet, heat the oil, saute the onions until translucent. Add the pine nuts, saute another minute or two. Add the raisins and barberries, saute for a few minutes. Add the cooked quinoa, salt, sour salt and 3-4 TBSP of the prepared syrup. Taste the mixture, you may want a bit more syrup, but you must be careful, the filling cannot be "soupy."
Pour 1/2 c water into a heavy saucepan, line the bottom of the pan with several grape leaves to prevent the rolls from sticking.
On a work surface: place a grape leaf, dull side facing you, place about 1 TBSP filling close to the stem end, fold sides of the leaf toward the center, over the filling and roll tightly. Place the roll on top of the leaves in the saucepan. Continue rolling, packing the leaves side by side in a single layer. Once you have filled the bottom of the pan with a layer, scatter some of the apricots and prunes on top of the rolls, then lay leaves on top of the fruit/ rolls and continue making rolls and forming a second layer. Scatter fruit on the 2nd layer. Cover with leaves. You should have enough filling to make approximately 36 rolls that will form 2 or 3 layers.
Cover the top layer with leaves. Combine the remaining syrup with a scant 1/4c water, pour over the layered stuffed rolls. Place a small plate on top of the layers of rolls (I use a bread and butter size plate). Cover the pot and bring to a boil.
Lower to a simmer and cook the stuffed rolls for about an hour. Cool before removing the plate or the rolls. They will firm up as they cool and will be easier to handle.
Remove the rolls from the saucepan. They store well in a container for 2-3 days in the refrigerator. Serve on a platter, scattering the apricots, prunes and syrup around the stuffed rolls or alternately, serve as individual appetizers on a bed of lettuce, garnished with a few apricots, prunes and olives.
These stuffed grape leaves also freeze well. Layer them in a single layer in a freezer container, cover with syrup and a layer of grape leaves and freeze for up to 2 months.