Grilled Grape Leaves Stuffed With Goat Cheese

Recipe by Margaret O'Herron
Hide the Cheese
www.hidethecheese.com

Approx. 20 fresh grape leaves (or grape leaves from a jar)
1 cup fresh Cherry Glen Chevre
2 cups cooked brown rice
1/2 teas. minced fresh rosemary
1/3 cup toasted pinenuts
salt and pepper to taste
a splash or two of olive oil, if desired (I used about 2 to 3 tablespoons), plus more for brushing

If you would like to make this recipe in advance, you can do everything but grill the grape leaves ahead of time. Pop them on the grill just before you are ready to serve them. If you are using fresh grape leaves, bring a pot of water to boil. Add salt and the grape leaves one at a time. Turn off the water and let the grape leaves sit in the pot, covered, for 8 to 10 minutes. The best way to test whether they are done it to scoop out a leaf, tear off a corner, and test it. The leaf will be done when it is easy to chew. When the leaves are tender, drain them into a colander, and run cold water on top to cool them. Carefully remove the leaves one at a time from the colander and lay them out flat on a dry kitchen towel. Briefly press another towel on top of the grape leaves to dry them, then remove it and let the leaves air dry.

Meanwhile, make the filling. Mix together the goat cheese, rice, rosemary, and pine nuts. Taste and add salt and pepper. If the filling seems a bit dry, add a few splashes of olive oil and mix again.

Lay a grape leaf with the vein side up on a cutting board and remove any stem from below the leaf (do not remove the central vein of the leaf itself). Add about 1 tablespoon of the filling towards the bottom of the leaf. Fold up the bottom and the sides and then tuck down the top. It may seem like it won't stay together, but just tuck in all the ends, and they will hold well. Repeat this process until you have used all your leaves and filling. Brush both sides of each grape leaf with olive oil.

Heat the grill to medium-high heat. Arrange the stuffed grape leaves on the grill with the seam side down and cook until they are slightly charred, 2 to 3 minutes. Turn and cook on the other side.

Serve whole or sliced diagonally in half.

Posted: September 2009
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