If you love grape leaves you'll love this dish. I find it difficult to find fresh grape leaves where I live, and the ones that come in a jar just don't taste the same. I found fresh collard greens to be a great alternative. This is a VEGETARIAN/VEGAN recipe. However, if you're feeling meaty please feel free to add half a pound of cooked ground beef to the filling mixture described below!
2 bunches of collard greens, approximately 20 leaves, washed
For the filling:
2 cups Egyptian rice or medium grain rice, rinsed
1 bunch parsley, finely chopped
1 large clove garlic, finely grated
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 pound vine ripe tomatoes, finely chopped
1 Tablespoon tomato paste
2 Tablespoons pomegranate molasses (optional)
1 Tablespoon dried mint leaves or 1 small fresh bunch, finely chopped
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
For cooking together in pot:
2 TBs olive oil
-Fill a large pot with water (halfway), bring water to boil. Drop 4-6 collard leaves at a time and boil for 2 minutes. Remove with tongs and place in strainer, continue until you've boiled all the leaves.
-While the leaves cool, prepare your filling.
-Mix all the filling ingredients together in a large bowl. You'll end up with a mixture that looks like this:
-After the leaves cool, grab your kitchen sheers and start prepping the leaves to be stuffed. First step is to cut out the stem, then cut this way:
|If it's a smaller leaf you won't need to cut the top part just the two sides.|
-Fill each leaf and roll it like so:
-Cover the leaves with a small plate to weigh them down then add enough water to cover the leaves by half an inch or so.
-Add olive oil, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Bring it to a boil on high heat, let boil for 5 minutes on high. Then cover and simmer for about an hour or until all the liquid is gone.
-You'll also know they're done by taking one out and tasting it! :) It should be easy to pierce a fork through it.
-Serve with a squeeze of lemon juice, some salad or plain yogurt on the side. Enjoy!
P.S: It's easier to flip the pot over unto a large dish when you're ready to serve, they'll stay in tact a bit better ;)