In Puebla, these are most often served as small, finger-size rolls, in which case they are referred to as taquitos. Grape leaves usually come in a jar, packed in brine, and must be thoroughly rinsed before cooking. Cabbage leaves are sometimes used instead of grape leaves, making tacos de col. Ground beef may be substituted for the lamb.
- ¾ cup rice (not instant)
- 1 pound lean ground lamb or beef
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 1 teaspoon ground allspice
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for coating pan
- 50 grape leaves, rinsed and patted dry, plus extra for lining pan
- 1 lemon, thinly sliced
Mix rice, meat, garlic, salt, pepper, spices and olive oil.
Place grape leaves on flat surface. If they are large, cut them in half, cutting out the thick center vein. Place a small amount of meat mixture at the stem end of each leaf, rolling once, then folding in sides. Continue rolling tightly.
When all leaves have been filled, coat the bottom of a large pan with olive oil, then cover with a layer of unstuffed grape leaves. Place a layer of thinly sliced lemon over the grape leaves, then place the stuffed rolls in the pan. Be sure to place them close together, arranged in neat rows, to prevent them from unrolling while steaming.
Add water to a depth of 2 inches and place a heavy dish, bottom side down, over the grape leaf rolls. (This helps them remain intact.) Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 30-35 minutes.
Remove the rolls from the pan with a slotted spatula to drain off any remaining cooking liquid. Arrange on serving dish and serve as part of a buffet, or cool to serve as appetizers or cocktail snacks.
Makes 50 rolls.