You are lucky if you have grapes in your garden, then you can use fresh grape leaves and it will be an amazing culinary experience. But even if you don't have grapes (and even if you don't have garden), you can use canned leaves that you can buy at the supermarket. It's actually a fairly simple dish that's easy to cook, and replacing beef (or lamb, as in the original recipe) with chicken makes this recipe even easier. Enjoy your meal! —Anna Vorobiova
(1 lb) chicken thighs, skinless and boneless
Calrose rice, cooked
hot pepper, finely chopped
fresh grape leaves or 1 can preserveded
chicken stock (homemade recommended)
Extra Virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
In This Recipe
Cut chicken thighs into small cubes, mix with rice and hot peppers, add fenugreek, salt, and pepper. Let rest for 10-15 minutes.
If using fresh leaves: Remove the stems. Dip the leaves in boiling water for 2 minutes, then quickly drain and discard the leaves in a colander. Wait for the excess liquid to drain and the leaves to cool slightly.
If using canned leaves: Transfer the leaves from the jar to a colander, rinse and drain off excess liquid. Remove the stems.
Place one grape leaf on a cutting board with the textured/roughened side facing you. Take one rounded teaspoon of the filling and place it in the center of the leaf, spreading evenly. Then fold the sides over the filling and wrap like a cigar or roll. Repeat with the remaining grape leaves.
Pour some extra virgin olive oil on the bottom of the saucepan. Arrange the grape leaves neatly in a row with the seam down. You will be placing them one by one, so a deep pot is needed. Sprinkle lightly with salt, pepper and pour with broth.
Simmer for 5 minutes over medium heat, then cover and simmer for another 15 minutes over low heat. Turn off heat and let rest for 15 minutes. Sprinkle with fresh herbs before serving (basil or cilantro are great).