Stuffed vine leaves-using the garden castoffs.

It’s not often these days I get the chance to ‘wing it’ with creating food dishes. I have fallen into the trap of mostly using (usually tweaking) other people’s recipes. Don’t get me wrong, we have discovered some brilliant food this way but I do miss just playing and seeing what evolves.

I spent a few hours in the veggie patch today and one of the jobs was to trim the grapevine in the berry house. It was overtaking everything and reaching for the stars. I also had to trim the lemon grass in the greenhouse, so thought I’d have a go at using the trimmings somehow in tonights dinner. First thought was to make dolmades but I couldn’t find my trusty greek cook book. So here’s how it went.

Selected about 20 vine leaves,

Grape vine leavesRinsed them. then blanched for about 4 minutes in boiling water. Lay on tea towel and rolled the towel up until filling was ready.

Blanched vine leavesI’d decided on a filling of chicken, pork, rice and spices:

The following were all mixed together

  • 250g minces pork
  • 1 finely chopped chicken fillet
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp hot chilli powder
  • 1 tspn fennel seed
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 and a half cups of almost cooked rice. I used carnaroli that I had cooked with stock and a small bunch of thyme then let cool.
  • 1 small handful (in total) of chopped parsley and chopped mint

I placed a dollop of filling onto vine leaf. Note, the positioning is important and the veins should be facing up.

Stuffed Vine Leavesthe bottom of the leaf  folded up and over the filling,

how to fold stuffed vine leavessides folded in

how to roll stuffed vine leavesThen roll them up as you would a spring roll. Place into pot with seam down.

The lemon grass trimmings were put in the bottom of a cast iron pot and a little of the sauce I made spread over it.

Stuffed grapevine leavesThe sauce was made by sweating a chopped onion in a pan, adding the same spices as in the filling but at quarter strength, 1 litre of tomato passata (puree) was stirred through. A  little was spread over the lemon grass and the rest spread over the stuffed leaves.

IMG_3336Lid on and onto the gas on low for about 20 minutes. I set the lid ajar after 10 minutes to avoid too much liquid building up.

Served with greek yoghurt and chopped mint and parsley.Stuffed vine leaves

Verdict, the flavour very nice and the spice mix was great but the leaves were quite tough. Maybe they should be cooked longer or have some acid added to break them down a little more. Maybe I should have selected much younger leaves! I have only ever used preserved vine leaves before and I find the taste of them a bit heavy.  I was really pleased with the subtle lemon flavour that came from using the lemon grass in the bottom of the pot. Quite often we only use the thick bottom bits but there is quite a lot of flavour in the grassy tops.



About fergie51

Sourdough baker, teacher, eater and student. Sustainable living advocate and passionate food grower. Conduct sourdough baking classes at my home and administrator of Facebook support page for Australian & New Zealand sourdough bakers.
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7 Responses to Stuffed vine leaves-using the garden castoffs.

  1. Gretchen says:

    These look wonderful. It’s fun to see what you make from your garden. I’m looking forward to spring arriving and finally having veg right out the door again. I have a little broccoli almost ready and then that’s it until spring. Oops, I may also have some radishes and carrots if I’m lucky.


  2. Elizabeth says:

    I was so excited when I logged onto your blog and saw this, I’ve always wanted a recipe!!! Yay! Thanks 🙂 Liz xx


    • fergie51 says:

      Liz, the rolls were good but as I mentioned leaves a little tough and I think if you are a salt adder, some salt should go in. I hardly use salt especially with strong spices but Mr ATMT wouldn’t have minded a bit. Cheers, Maree 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Maree, these look delicious! Love a good hearty meal. These would be a great addition to the giveaway I’m running at the moment – sharing your favourite rice recipe to be in the winning of a $50 Kitchen Warehouse voucher. All you need to do is add this link here –
    Hope to see you there xx
    PS have pinned these little beauties for later reference 🙂


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