the appetizer:

The Essential New York Times Cookbook: Classic Recipes for a New Century by Amanda Hesser includes recipes like Florida Beets; Beet Tzatziki; Malfatti; and Iraqi Grape Leaves Stuffed with Lamb, Mint, and Cinnamon.

Cookbook Profile

Iraqi Grape Leaves
Stuffed with Lamb, Mint, and Cinnamon

Serves 4


"American housekeepers are generous in serving leg of lamb, lamb chops, shoulders, and stews," Kiley Taylor, a Times food columnist, wrote, "but beyond these few ideas, the imagination does not seem to extend." To remedy this situation, Taylor whipped out a few cookbooks for inspiration, and although she never named the source for this recipe, she chose well. The cinnamon-and-mint-scented filling and the tangy grape leaves make a fine pair.

1. Soak the grape leaves in a bowl of water for at least 1 hour. Drain, rinse, and dry them.

2.. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Gently mix the lamb, rice, 1 tablespoon butter, the mint, cinnamon, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Lay 1-1/2 tablespoons of this mixture at the stem end of a grape leaf. Form mixture into a log shape. Fold the sides of the leaf over the mixture, then roll up toward the tip of the leaf. Repeat with the remaining leaves and stuffing. Some of the leaves may tear; you should end up with about 18 rolls.

3. Arrange the rolls in an 8-inch square baking dish. Dot with the remaining tablespoon of butter. Sprinkle with 3 tablespoons water. Lay a piece of foil over the dish, then lay another casserole or plate on top of the foil to weigh down the rolls. Press the foil against the edges to seal the dish.

4. Bake until the lamb is just cooked through, 30 to 40 minutes.

Serving Suggestions

Hummus bi Tahini (p. 68 of the book), Beet Tzatziki, Amaki Araka (Lamb with Peas; p. 550), Cumin-Mustard Carrots (p. 237), Spicy Orange Salad Morrocan-Style (p. 181), Saffron Panna Cotta (p. 845)

September 1, 1940: "Victuals and Vitamins," by Kiley Taylor.—1940


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This page created April 2011