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Sunday, 21 August 2011

Grape Vine Sunday

First there was Cabbage Sunday. Then Chard Sunday showed up. And today, the ultimate Grape Vine Sunday.

The Lebanese word for "stuffed" is "Mehshi" which is also used as a descriptor of today's meal - stuffed jardin grape vine leaves and jardin Lebanese zucchini.

Almost a year ago, I have described the grape vine Mehshi (see Mehshi Warak). Today, and based on popular demand, I will be providing the full recipe for this meal.

First, you go out with your cats and pick up fresh leaves off the vine.

Then, you blanch the leaves. Boil some water, throw the leaves in it, turn them over and take them out. The leaves will turn from the beautiful green you see with cats to a light brown colour - now they are ready to stuff and roll.

Making the stuffing is very simple - 2/3 long grain rice to 1/3 ground beef, spiced up with salt and pepper.

The act of stuffing is more complex. Lay the leaf with the rough side (one with veins) facing you. Put a
small thin row of the stuffing. Roll the leaf starting from left to right, then front side rolling over until you have a nice tight rolled leaf.

And they can be as tiny as you like (smaller than a finger as per pic).

While you can just have the grape vines as Mehshi, typically you cook it with stuffed zucchini.

Back to le jardin to pick up fresh Lebanese zucchini. Oh no, there are only three of them and I need four to serve one to each dinner guest.

So I had to resort to one of the non-Lebanese dark zucchini.

As one of the guests said, you can do a taste test to confirm that your beloved Lebanese zucchinis are best.

So the zucchinis were cleaned (with the dark one looking like the black sheep of the pact), but the stuffing process is not that straight forward.

You start with cutting the top off. With an instrument that looks like a thin potato peeler, dig out the inside of the zucchini, rinse it and stuff it with rice & meat.

To cook, use a stove top pot.
Start with a layer of sliced potatoes (so nothing sticks to the pan), a layer of chicken thighs, the zucchini and the grape vine leaves.

Cover with a 1/3 lemon juice to 2/3 water until all is covered. Put a plate on top so the rolls don't separate while boiling, cover and bring to boil.

Cook until most of the liquid has evaporated. Serve warm and enjoy. Delicious!

The grape vine is still packed with leaves. Poor cats, he does not want to see any more chopped off though...

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