Stuffed Vine Leaves
by Daniel Rogov
If using fresh grape leaves, soak in hot water for 5 - 6 minutes. If tinned leaves are used, soak 5 - 6 hours in cold water. In either case, squeeze dry gently between toweling.
Soak the prunes in water for 3 hours. Remove from the water and chop coarsely. Coarsely chop the cherries and raisins.
Combine all the ingredients (except the vine leaves, lemon and oil) and with the mixture fill the leaves, tucking in the edge while rolling. The finished rolled leaves should be about 2" (5cm.) in length.
Cover the bottom of a shallow pan with half the lemon slices and arrange the stuffed leaves on top. Cover with another layer of lemon slices, and pour the oil and 2 cups of water over all. Cover and cook over a medium flame for 1 hour.
Remove from the flame and discard the upper layer of lemon slices. With a slotted spoon remove the stuffed leaves from the liquid. If served hot, each rolled leaf may be served on one of the cooked lemon slices. If served cold, discard the lemon and chill the leaves well.
Daniel Rogov is the restaurant and wine critic for the daily newspaper Ha'aretz. He is also the senior writer for Wine and Gourmet Magazine and contributes culinary and wine articles to newspapers in Europe and the United States.
Source: Israeli Foreign Ministry and Rogov's Ramblings. Reprinted with permission.