Stuffed Grape Leaves with Barley and Turkey

We found ourselves few days ago at the Jons market which is very nicely stocked up with lots of imported foods and delicatessen.
You can find wonderful dry meats, feta cheeses from France, Hungary, Greece….fantastic variety of olives, etc. This time I chose to buy good looking jar of grape leaves.
I was thinking to stuff them with turkey & barley. They were really tasty….whole casserole left empty. …I was hoping for some leftover but I will have to make this again….wonderful warm lunch, light, still very nutritious and most importantly super delich.


1 jar grape leaves
1 pound white turkey, ground
1/3 cup barley
red onion, chopped
garlic cloves, chopped
Italian parsley, chopped
I stick celery, chopped
1 teaspoon paprika
1 cup chicken stock
1 can tomato sauce or crushed tomatoes
juice from orange and zest
sea salt, pepper

To make stuffing, using medium sauce pan on the medium heat, roast onions, garlic and celery with touch of extra virgin olive oil till well browned. Add turkey. Roast till almost done. Don’t over dry the meat.

Season with salt, pepper, paprika, Italian parsley add barley, chicken stock and simmer for 5-8 minutes. Set aside.
Now the fun stuff. Rolling the leaves is very quick and easy process. If some leaves are broken you can use more to patch up the wholes.

Take a leaf in your left hand and grab a pinch of stuffing in the right hand, about a tablespoon and roll the stuffing a little in your fingers to shape it, then place it in the middle of the leaf by the stem.
Take one of the bottom edges and turn it in to the center, then the other bottom edge, then the same for the other two leaf parts, now place it on a hard surface to roll it up into the middle leaf.

Now, place them one by one in the casserole as you roll them, seam side down. You will have 2 levels if you’re making more then 16-20.
After you have finished rolling and setting, sprinkle lightly with sea salt over the top, orange juice, zest and tomato sauce.
Add enough chicken stock to cover the bottom layer. For the finishing touch I love to add graded parmesan cheese on top.
Preheat oven to 400F.
Bake uncovered for 20 minutes till cheese got slight brownish color and then cover the casserole. Low temperature to 350F and bake for additional 20-30 minutes.

Serve warm with non fat yogurt or sour cream on the side, optional:)
Wonderful if served with glass of red vine.

Intake of barley is very likely to help you maintain your overall health in the long term. These whole grains are rich in protein, vitamins, minerals and amino acids essential for our health. More importantly, barley is one of the richest sources of both soluble and insoluble fiber.