I have a grape vine with a lot of fresh leaves so I thought I'd make stuffed vine leaves. I'm going to precook the filling, so the final cook only needs to be enough to cook the leaves. Most recipes for stuffed vine leaves cook for long enough to cook the filling as well, so I can't get an idea of how long the leaves need. Other recipes are based on oven cooking them until crispy. I'm planning to simmer them in a covered pan or steam them over some new potatoes, as I can do that outside to avoid heating the house (we're having a heatwave here). I expect to par-cook/blanch the leaves first as apparently that makes them easier to roll.

So how long do vine leaves themselves take to steam/simmer?

up vote 5 down vote accepted

As you're going to blanch the vine leaves until they are easy to roll, no additional time is needed to cook them...

If you add cold ingredients like cheese to the filling or if you freeze them, it's a good idea to steam them a bit more for perfectly warm and properly cooked Dolmades...

  • So "easy to roll" = "good to eat"? Having never cooked and rarely eaten them that's what I didn't know. – Chris H Jul 1 at 11:51
  • Yup. I do freeze mine, so I still steam them to heat them up though as it's easier to make a large batch than a small batch so if this is your first batch, I'd advise you to do the same or blanch them 10 seconds longer if you intend to eat them cold. – Fabby Jul 1 at 12:04
  • 1
    In the end the filling cooled a little while I was fiddling about (plus I added cold cheese) so a few minutes steaming was needed by the filling. They turned out rather nicely, but my rolling technique could use some work! – Chris H Jul 2 at 10:21
  • 1
    I'm happy they turned out well for you! Question upvoted so more people can find something that'll work for them. – Fabby Jul 2 at 16:48

The leaves don't need any cooking at all. You can eat them raw, you can wrap filling in raw leaves, you can wrap filling in blanched leaves, you can wrap filling in leaves which have been canned and cooked to mushiness in the process - anything goes.

In practical terms, blanching first will make it easiest on you and the next cook. Raw leaves will tend to unroll with time, so if you store the prepared sarmas, they will get messy and the filling will fall out. If you cook them longer, you are just wasting time and reducing the taste. So, blanching is the sweet spot indeed. But you are not bound to it in any way.

Your Answer

By clicking "Post Your Answer", you acknowledge that you have read our updated terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy, and that your continued use of the website is subject to these policies.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.