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  • Writer's pictureSarah Rose Valger

Lauren Sorochinsky's Yerba

I am a BIG fan of Middle Eastern food, so when Lauren shared this recipe was me, I was beyond excited. Yerba, as Lauren described it, it a Syrian version of rolled grape leaves (Lauren made it clear to me that the Greeks took some creative license in calling it "original"). This recipe is not an easy feat, it takes an experienced grape leaf roller. Luckily, there's Youtube.


Serves 8-15, Total cooking time: (60 min prep, 50 min cooking)

STEP ONE: Rinse and then soak the grape leaves in warm water until you are ready to roll.

STEP TWO: In a skillet, heat 2 tbsp of the olive oil over medium high heat and sauté the chopped onion and garlic until translucent for 2 minutes. Add the spices (all spice, cinnamon, pepper, garlic & onion powders, and let them sweat for a couple more minutes.

STEP THREE: In a large bowl, combine the meat, the rice, cream of rice, zucchini, the onion mixture and dried mint. Mix everything together with your hands until everything is incorporated. Reserve (put to the side).

STEP FOUR: Drain and rinse the grape leaves again.

STEP FIVE: Take the stems of every grape leaf and blanch them in boiling water for 10 minutes. Drain and reserve.

STEP SIX: To roll the grape leaves, place a leaf with the vein side up on your work surface. Add one tablespoon of the filling mixture to the center of the leaf. Fold the edges in and up and roll the grape leaf until it looks like a cigar, tucking the edges under the roll. Proceed with the other leaves until you've run out of filling or leaves.

STEP SEVEN: Line a heavy bottomed pot with (unrolled) grape leaves.

STEP EIGHT: Proceed to arrange the stuffed grape leaves in rows, alternating the direction of each layer of rows.

STEP NINE: Fill the pot with the chicken or vegetable broth (enough to cover the rolls).

STEP TEN: Cover the pot and bring to a boil.

STEP ELEVEN: When it boils, lower the heat to low and cook for 40 minutes, until meat is cooked and rice is tender.

STEP TWELVE: Optional: Add more more stock to barely cover the grape leaves and bring to a boil for 2 min.

STEP THIRTEEN: Remove pot from heat. Pour lemon juice over grape leaves. Serve hot.

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