Rolling Up Stuffed Grape Leaves

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 24,501
    Cookbook author, cooking instructor and culinary consultant Amy Riolo demonstrates how to properly roll stuffed grape leaves.

    Amy Riolo: Hi, I am Amy Riolo and today I am working with Chef Jordan from Cafe 8 and we are stuffing grape leaves. So what's the first thing that we need to do when we prepare our pot for our grape leaves and go ahead and stuff them?

    Chef Jordan: Basically when you get a jar of grape leaves, you are going to find that there are some broken grape leaves in there and instead of throwing these grape leaves out, that's a big no-no and when you are working in the kitchen you use everything, you want to use these to layer the bottom of your pot, so it does not burn. It takes many hours to do this. So you do not want to waste a single one of -- so we are basically just filling in all the gaps. Once the gaps are filled, put a layer of potatoes to also help separate the bottom of the pan. The good thing about these potatoes is at the end, if you didn't burn them, they are delicious to eat. So it's a extra little meal that whoever is preparing it can have them their delicious in themselves.

    Amy Riolo: So all of those flavors from the grape leaves really melt together with the potatoes.

    Chef Jordan: Exactly, then we put one more layer on top.

    Amy Riolo: That also makes a nice little cushion for the grape leaves.

    Chef Jordan: Exactly. That's it and as you can see we make a bed for the grape leaves. Now that we have the bed ready for the grape leaves, we will start stuffing them. The first step in stuffing the grape leaves, is you want put a -- you want to have your work surface, you want to put as many as you can get on the work surface. There are two sides in the grape leaves. As you can see there is a shiny side, there is a not so shiny side, we are going to put the shiny side down.

    Amy Riolo: So the vein side is up.

    Chef Jordan: So the vein side is up. Also you want to look, there is normally a stem right here, the ones that we get the stem is already taken off for us and there is a stem right here as you can picture it. This is the grape leaf on the vine. So you want to take that off if that's on there, basically you just put them out on the table like so.

    Amy Riolo: That's a great tip, instead of doing them one by one. It can really save us a lot of time.

    Chef Jordan: It takes a lot of time. On an average it takes anywhere from an hour, two hours for the amount that we do, stuff these grape leaves, but once they are done, they are delicious.

    Amy Riolo: Now when you make a batch of grape leaves at Cafe 8, how many do you make at one time?

    Chef: We make say about a 150, 200 grape leaves at a time.

    Amy Riolo: So they are very popular item?

    Chef Jordan: Very popular item. We probably make them -- we are probably in the process of doing one of the steps every day, either making the stuffing or stuffing the grape leaves themselves, everyday.

    Amy Riolo: That's amazing. That's a good tip too for people at home. They can make -- they prepare the filling one day, prepare the grape leaves another day and then assemble them on another day.

    Chef Jordan: Basically I will show you the first one. Take a nice tablespoon, place it right in the middle and what you can do, save time, go ahead and put them in all of them. We have it laid out. Now these grape leaves are gray because they are in nice size. You want to find a decently sized grape leaves, you don't want small grape leaves, because as you will see this one is probably smallest of the bunch. You can start rolling it, just fold in, fold in, take it, you want to make sure these things are nice and tight, if they are not, they will fall apart in the pot.

    Amy Riolo: So we are kind of tucking and wrapping at the same time.

    Chef Jordan: I am not the quickest at this, but there is a method to the mayhem. You have about everything laid out, so it's ready to go, you can see how quick I am doing this.

    Amy Riolo: You were telling me before Chef Jordan, that the word stuffed it comes from the Turkish Dolmasi and this is why we get the name for the grape leaves. What other kinds of things are stuffed in Turkish cuisine and why is stuffing so important?

    Chef Jordan: Well, you are right Amy. Dolma definitely means stuff, there are many different varieties of Dolma. We do a Dolma, basically stuffed midye, midye in Turkish means mussels and we stuff the mussels which is basically the same stuffing that we are doing here, I have devised one of my own kind, of refined the old stuffing and turn it one of my own and it's a nice little snack on a hot summer day, we sell them at parties and we sell them as special. So you can come at the restaurant any time and get them.

    Amy Riolo: Sound's delicious.

    Chef Jordan: They are very good. There is also Dolma Zucchini, Stuffed Zucchini. I am sure that everybody at homes have made stuffed tomatoes at one time or another those are Dolmas, you might not know you are making them but your are making them. Amy Riolo: Those look great. And when we come back we will layer them in our pot.