This is my third kofta post. As you can see, these marvelous morsels of meat are very versatile and come in many variations. This particular variation is the standard kofta mix, formed into small patties, and wrapped in grape leaves. If I mention grape leaves, my husband automatically says, ” we should make kofta with them!”, he prefers them to the rice filled rolls. It is called Lahma ‘a Waraqa (la7ma 3ala waraqa -literally translates to “meat on a leaf”)
This dish is sometimes topped with a tomato-based sauce, but I prefer a simple squeeze of lemon. The grape leaves and lemon juice impart a lovely tanginess to the kofta.
This tray of kofta was made with leaves picked from our little grape vine, but you could use brined or dry preserved grape leaves the same way. Usually the jarred ones you find in the US are rather large, so you would probably want to make larger patties, or trim the leaves a bit.
Kofta Wrapped in Grape Leaves – Lahma ‘a Waraqa
~24 grape leaves
1 ½ lb ground beef or lamb (or a mixture of the two)
½ c onion. grated or finely minced
½ c parsley, finely chopped
1 ½ t allspice
½ t turmeric
½ t cumin
1 t coriander
1 T cooking oil
salt and pepper, to taste
½ onion, cut in half lengthwise, then sliced across in thick slices
1 large tomato, sliced or chopped
juice of ½ lemon
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Bring a medium pot of water to boil. Add grape leaves and allow to blanch for about 5 minutes. Remove leaves, rinse with cold water, and set aside.
Shape meat into 24-small patties, about half dollar size in diameter. Place grape leaf on plate or tray, rough side up. Place one patty in the middle of the leaf, and wrap leaf around to cover the meat. (you can adjust sizes of meat patties according to how big or small your grape leaves are.
Add tomatoes and onions to tray and drizzle with a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil and the juice of half a lemon.
Add 1 cup water. Cover with aluminum foil and bake 40 minutes.
Remove foil and return to oven. Bake 20-30 more minutes, uncovered.