Stuffed Grape Leaves

Homemade grape leaves are totally superior to anything you can buy. The very best are made with your own grape leaves put away in early to mid-June (gather, blanch and freeze). Since perhaps you don't have any in your freezer, the ones in the jar will still yield delicious results.

Yield: approximately 30 stuffed grape leaves

1/3 cup quinoa

2 tablespoons olive oil

2/3 cup minced onion

1 ½ teaspoon minced garlic

1 pound ground lamb

2 tablespoons Marsala wine

1/4 cup cooked greens (kale/beet/spinach), squeezed dry and finely chopped

2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts

2 tablespoons currants

1 tablespoons minced mint leaves, if available

1 teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon black pepper

1 egg, lightly beaten

30 blanched grape leaves, fresh, frozen or from a jar

Olive oil

Local ingredients: lamb, greens, mint, eggs, grape leaves

Rinse quinoa well. Cook until done in 2/3 cup boiling water. Drain and set aside.

Heat oil, add onion and cook until softened. Add garlic and cook a few minutes longer.  

Add lamb and cook until lightly browned. Deglaze pan with Marsala wine. Add greens, pine nuts, currants, mint, salt, pepper and eggs and mix well.

Set grape leaves shiny side down on counter. Use scoop to portion on to grape leaves. Bring in the sides and roll into a compact cylinder about 2 ½ inches in length. Spread olive oil on tray and place grape leaves. Brush oil on tops.

At serving time, grill outside or on a stove top grill pan and serve.