These were a labor of love, as my husband likes them but they require a lot of time. I happened to have a lot of swiss chard around, which this recipe calls for instead of grape leaves, so I thought I'd give it a try.
5 Tbs EVOO
1 chopped red onion
1/2 c short grain brown rice soaked in very hot water for 10 min, rinsed and drained
1/2 c chickpeas soaked overnight, peeled and halved
3/4 c chopped tomatoes
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp hot paprika
1/8 tsp sweet paprika
1/8 tsp ground cumin
1/8 tsp black pepper
1 c parsley chopped
3 Tbs slivered mint leaves
1 tsp sugar
2 lbs swiss chard leaves
1 1/2 c water
3 Tbs fresh lemon juice
in a 10 in skillet, warm the oil and add the onion, cover and cook for five minutes or until the onion is soft and golden. remove from heat and tilt into a mixing bowl. add the rice, chickpeas, tomatoes, salt, paprikas, spices, parsley, mint, and sugar. mix well.
rinse and drain swiss chard leaves. remove the stalks from the greens and reserve for a later use. if the leaves are large half them lengthwise removing center rib. dip leaves into simmering water until pliable- several seconds. and refresh in a basin of cool water. drain.
to fill: place leaves shiny side down on a towel and blot off excess water with another towel. place a heaping teaspoon of filling near the bottom of each leaf. fold over the filling and roll up to make a firm, thin cigarette shape. repeat with the remaining leaves and filling.
place the stuffed leaves open ends down in tightly packed rows, criss-crossing layers. weighing them down with a plate just large enough to fit inside the saucepan. pour the water down the inside of the saucepan and bring to boil. boil hard for a half of minute, cover with a tight-fitting lid, reduce the heat to low and cook for 40 min. remove from heat and let stand 20 min before uncovering. add lemon juice to pan juices and swirl to combine. serve warm or cold.
she seriously ate like five of them:
tip: to peel chickpeas relatively easily, place them on a kitchen towel and cover them with another towel. gently hit them several time with a rolling pin then rub it over them a few times. the peas should split in two and it will loosen the skins.