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Vine Leaves Stuffed with Tomatoes

A tasty and economical dish from Greece, Vine Leaves Stuffed with Tomatoes may served as a supper dish with tomato sauce or as an accompaniment to roast lamb.

3 tablespoons olive oil

8 spring onions , trimmed and chopped

3 tomatoes, blanched, peeled, seeded and chopped

2 courgettes , trimmed and finely chopped

2 oz. long-grain rice, washed, soaked in cold water for

30 minutes and drained

1 teaspoon chopped fresh fennel or dill

1 teaspoon grated lemon rind

20 canned vine leaves, drained, rinsed in hot water and patted dry with kitchen paper towels 6 fl. oz. chicken stock, boiling

Preheat the oven to moderate 350’F (Gas Mark 4, 180CC).

In a large frying-pan, heat the oil over moderate heat. When the oil is hot, add the spring onions , tomatoes, courgettes and rice and cook, stirring constantly, for 3 minutes. Add the fennel or dill and lemon rind and cook, stirring constantly, for a further 3 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat.

Put the vine leaves, shiny side down, on a working surface. Place 2 teaspoons of the rice mixture on each leaf, near the stem. Roll up the leaves, tucking the sides in to form parcels. Place the vine rolls, seam side down in a large ovenproof casserole. Pour over the stock. Place an ovenproof plate on top of the vine leaves and cover the casserole with aluminium foil. Place the casserole in the oven and bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until the stock has been absorbed and the rice is tender. Remove the casserole from the oven and serve immediately.

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