Stuffed Onion and Vine Leaves (Iraqi Style)

A few months ago one of my Iraqi girlfriends invited me over for a  girlie luncheon.  I love going to her house because she is truly the hostest with mostest.  She is able to gracefully whip a warm, wonderful and beautiful gathering that would make Martha Stewart envious.  On this occasion, she made us her divine stuffed onion and vine leaves that literally melts in your mouth.  This dish is simply amazing.  I love stuffed anything, but the addition of pomegranate molasses takes it to another level.  This dish requires lots of patience and love, but the result will make it worth the effort.

Below is the recipe that she so gracefully shared.  Hope you enjoy this dish as much as I do.

Nooshe-joon and Sahtein!

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Stuffed Onion and Vine Leaves (Iraqi Style)

May 18, 2016

  • Prep Time: 1 hr
  • Cook Time: 4 hrs

Ingredients

3 cups Calrose Rice (aka Egyptian rice)

1 cup onion, finely chopped

1 cup tomato, finely chopped

1 cup olive oil

1 cup lemon juice

2 bunch parsley, finely chopped

Handful mint, finely chopped

1 tsp turmeric

4 tsp salt

2 tsp pepper

3/4 cup pomegranate molasses

1 jar vine leaves

15 large onions.

2 potatoes, peeled and sliced

Directions

1Soak rice in cold water for about 20 to 30 minutes; drain and keep on the side.

2Soak vines leaves in boiling water for about 10 to 15 minutes; drain and keep on the side.

3Clean the onions, trim the top and bottom of each onion. Cut half way through the onion, but not all the way through, so that once it is cooked you can peel each layer one piece at a time. Place the onion into a large pot and cover with water. Bring the water to a boil over medium to high heat, and cook for about 30 minutes until the onions are tender to the core; drain and let cool.

4Make the stuffing: combine rice, onion, tomato, olive oil, lemon juice, parsley, mint, tumeric, salt, pepper and pomegranate molasses together.

5In a medium sized pot, place one layer of vine leaves on the bottom of the pot, then add one layer of sliced potatoes, seasoned with salt. Then add the layers of stuffed onion, followed by the layers of stuffed vine leaves.

6Stuffed onion: stuff each peel of onion with about 1 to 2 teaspoons of stuffing (depending on size), and roll tightly into a mini American football shaped roll. Place rolls compactly into the pot one layer at a time. You should be able make about two layers of stuffed onions.

7Stuffed vine leaves: place a vine leaf, smooth side down, and place about 1- 2 teaspoons of stuffing (depending on size) in the centre along the base of the leaf. Fold in both sides, then roll up tightly to enclose filling. Each stuffed vine leaves should look like a mini cigar. Place stuffed vines leaves compactly over the layer of stuffed onions.

8Once the onions and vine leaves have been stuffed and placed in the pot, strain the remaining liquid over the pot. Then weigh down the stuffed leaves with a medium sized plate; this will help to prevent the stuffed onion and stuffed vines leaves from unravelling and it helps to keep their shape.

9Once the onions and vine leaves have been stuffed and placed in the pot, strain the remaining liquid over the pot. Then weigh down the stuffed leaves with a medium sized plate; this will help to prevent the stuffed onion and stuffed vines leaves from unravelling and it helps to keep their shape.

10Cover the pot with its lid and bring the liquid to a boil, then lower the heat to low fire and leave the indgredients to cook for about 3 to 4 hours.

11This dish can be served either hot as a main dish with a side of yoghurt, or cold as a mezza

TipIf you are making this for a gathering, I would suggest you follow steps 1 to 9 the night before. Refridgerate the uncooked dish over night, this not only allows the ingredients to marinate well but it reduces the amount of work needed to prepare the dish on the day of your gathering. I like to make this dish for our family lunches on Friday, so I usually would take the pot out of the fridge and let it sit outside on the counter top for about half an hour before putting in on the fire. I have it on the fire at around 10am and it is ready to be served on the table at around 2pm.

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3 replies
  1. moonira
    moonira says:

    hi there. thanks for posting this recipe. where would I buy pomegranate molasses in Dxb?

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