Recipe: Lebanese Stuffed Vine Leaves (‘Mishi warak enab’)

Delicious things come to those who have three hours to spend rolling grape leaves. And drinking wine. 

There are two truths to Lebanese cooking.
One – the food is freakin’ delicious.
Two – so many dishes take for-ev-a to make.

Hours of prep and cooking for five mins of eating a little piece of heaven? Worth it.

Aiight, go get yo’self a packet/jar of grape leaves + these ingredients:

Step 1
Mix the above together, adding 1/4 cup of lemon juice, and set aside.

Step 2
Rinse the vine leaves in hot water for a couple of minutes then lay them flat, shiny-side down.

Step 3
Line the base of a pot with the onion slices and slices from one extra tomato if you have it handy. You could also use potatoes, but they are meh.

Step 4
Place 1 teaspoon of stuffing somewhere near the bottom of each leaf. Roll up once from the bottom, tuck in each side, then roll all the way to the end of the leaf. Make the roll tight, but not too tight because you don’t want these bad boys to burst as they boil. Stack them tightly together in a pot as you go.

Step 5
You’ve probably rolled about 20 or so at this point, so let’s have a wine break and toast to how friggen domestic you’re being right now. You got this.

Step 6
Back to rolling.

Step 7
40 rolls in and you start questioning your life choices. Wine break.

Step 8
SWEET YEEZUS THESE TAKE AAAAAAGES WHY CAN’T THEY JUST BE COOKED AND IN AND AROUND MY MOUTH ALREADY??

Step 9
Wine break.

Step 10
Oh, look! The pot is filled!

Time to add half a cup each of lemon juice and olive oil, 1 more teaspoon of salt (because this is a Lebanese recipe and God help you if there isn’t any salt), plus two cups of water. The brine-y, lemon-y mixture should just skim over the top rolls. Give the pot a swirl to mix it round a bit (is the room spinning, or just me?)

Step 11
Grab a heatproof plate and place it in the pot and down over the leaves to keep the rolls tightly together, then turn on the heat. Once the sauce begins to boil, turn the heat riiiiiight down, clamp on the pot lid and go catch up on an episode-and-a-half of RHOS (35 minutes).

Step 12
Once 35 minutes are up and you’ve had more than enough of Athena X for one day, check (*taste) one of the rolls to make sure the rice is cooked inside. If all is good, wait till the rolls are completely cool before you flip the pot over onto a plate, or arrange ’em all fancy like. You done good.

Ooooooooh yeah.