A couple of years ago, my best girlfriends and I went to an event at a local tasting room: Meeting the Queen of Quince. She had us roll Yalanchi Sarma, Armenian stuffed grape leaves. Ever since, they have been a family favorite. I use whatever I have on hand. Today, I had a quinoa, millet, and buckwheat mix along with some ground beef and roasted chestnuts. Yum!
2 C cooked grain (as I mentioned, I used a mix of quinoa, millet, and buckwheat)
1 pound 96/4 organic grassfed ground beef
3 shallots, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
dash of ground cinnamon
dash of ground nutmeg
freshly ground salt and pepper
handful of fresh parsley, roughly-chopped
handful of chopped roasted chestnuts
In a large, flat-bottom pan saute the shallots and garlic in a splash of olive oil until softened. Add the meat and cook thoroughly. Season with spices and stir in the cooked grains, chestnuts, and herbs.
Place a tablespoon of your filling in the center of a grape leaf. Keeping constant pressure, roll the grape leaf into a packet. Because my grape leaves were so small, I used two for each roll.
Arrange the rolls in a baking dish. Lay sliced of lemon over the top. Fill your pan with water so that the water comes to the top of the rolls. Add a splash of olive oil. Lay grape leaves over the top and cover with foil. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 90 minutes, until the liquid is completely absorbed and the rolls are soft. Serve with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.