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(Stuffed Vine Leaves & Squash)
In the past this dish was a collaborative work between the ladies of the family, who would have been living together in the same extended family home, but life has changed and times are different. This dish is a nightmare to every lady in the region as it is a tedious tiring task to wrap these vine leaves and make the family enough of them to get them full, but it’s worth being tired worth all that and more because the taste is definitely heavenly as the sour tones of the leaves and lemon juice mix sensationally with the rest.
1 ½ Cup Rice
500g Ground lamb/beef
Salt and pepper to season
In a deep bowl mix the stuffing ingredients together with a dash of oil.
500g Vine Leaves
1kg Baby Squash
1 Large Tomato Sliced
¾ cup Lemon Juice
Put your vine leaves in a pot filled with boiling water dip them for 10 seconds and remove them. Set them aside and start taking on vine leaf at a time, spread it on a flat surface and place 1 teaspoon of the stuffing in the middle forming a straight line. Fold the sides inwards first and roll to warp. Make sure the stuffing is completely covered and the vine leaf is tightly wrapped. Repeat same procedure with the other vine leaves.
Trim the tip of the squash and hollow its inside with a corer by piercing the top and removing the insides but make sure you keep enough outer skin to hold the stuffing. Fill ¾ of the squash lightly (don’t press it hard).
Get a large deep pan and layer it with some tomato slice on the bottom then the vine leaves and squash, sprinkle with salt and cover with the lemon and water till the top. Boil it at the beginning then lower and simmer for around 40min with a cracked cover. Check your vine leaves, if the rice is cooked then increase the heat to get rid of any water left by opening the cover to evaporate it.
Serve with some yogurt on the side and a largely cut salad.
PS: You can make a vegetarian alternative to stuffing it with meat and rice by stuffing it with: Rice, Parsley, Tomatoes, Onions, and then you add a dash of pomegranate molasses to the cooking water.