Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Greek Grape Leaf Wreath - Festive and Filling!

I had a request recently from the Greek food guide on About.com, Nancy, for a video recipe for a dish called "Rolo me Abelophylla," which is a meat, rice and cheese loaf in grape leaves. I decided to do a vegetarian version using lentils since I've always enjoyed cold rice and lentil salads, and thought this combo would be perfect with the grape leaves. It was.

When you add the tangy feta, and consider the very holiday-ish design, this would be a fantastic item to bring to that Holiday party. Imagine the look on everyone's face when you walk in carrying this! Suddenly their cheese ball doesn't look so hot.

If you decide to attempt this fairly easy ring of rice, you can find jarred grape leaves in any Greek market, or high-end store. Nancy suggests using the dried leaves if you can find them - these are boiled to soften and are larger and easier to use. But, the brand you see in the video in the larger jars worked fine. Enjoy!

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Click here for ingredients and recipe transcript.

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

LOL @ "Suddenly their cheese ball doesn't look so hot."

Bill W, NH said...

Hi there Chef, video stops at 1:52.

I think I'll make this soon. We both love lentils and rice.

CharGeorge said...

A giant Dolma donut?
Count me in!

childsdish said...

Do you cut into the wreath with a knife and slice to serve? Will it stay in a slice form - on its side - on a plate, or does it fall apart?

Chef John said...

I just checked and it ran fine, maybe just a server hiccup.

Chef John said...

Both, I would cut into slice with a knife since the grape leaves can be tough to cut with a spoon, and then serve with a large spoon since it will not stay completely together. Depends on how sticky your rice is.

Anonymous said...

HOLY WOW what a unique dish!! I love grape leaves, rice and lentils. I can also imagine this rice with ground lamb to make almost a seasoned 'dirty rice'. Do you not have to litely oil the grape leaves when you line the bundt pan?

Chef John said...

I didn't, I'm sure the dressing seeps down.

Susanna said...

Do you eat the leaves too??

Chef John said...

yes, they have an interesting flavor.

foods to lower cholesterol said...

Looks better on the door than on the dinner table, LOL

Chef John said...

Hey, you're not suppose to laugh at your own jokes.

milkshake said...

you can also use this dish to cheer up your bereaved friend (serve cold, with a ribbon).

Shreela said...

Very nice looking, and seems much easier than stuffing leaves.

Ooh, I bet this could be done with cabbage leaves too.

MDChef said...

Chef John, Great job on the grape leaf wreath. If the target guest may not appreciate grape leaves, which cabbage or other green leaf veggie would work? Savoy Cabbage? Chard? as examples. Thanks for your input.

Chef John said...

Yes, I would use savoy or napa cabbage. You can even use long thin strips of english cucumber.

Anonymous said...

Do you rinse the leaves first?

Chef John said...

many people do, but I don't really eat the leaves anyway, so I leave them full strength to flavor the filling.

Mayyada said...

hey chef, arent these leaves considered raw because they werent cooked? when i make stuffed grape leaves in rolls, i use the jar ones, and they are not cooked just barely maybe for a couple of minutes, but they would still be very hard and chewey.. i cant imagine eating this dish without cooking it.

Spot in Cyberspace said...

I just popped over to about.com to view the video...it gave me a great idea! I love in Turkey and we have grape leaves all year round (pickled in winter, fresh in summer). So, I have recently discovered quinoa (chicken or tuna salad) and I can't wait to stuff it in the grape leaf wrapper! Next Tuesday morning coffee group will be so jealous! Thanks! :-)