Ifigenia uses the same filling she makes in this recipe to stuff pumpkin flowers, which she cooks on top of the koupepia and serves together with Cypriot bread to mop up the juices.
- 500 g fresh unsprayed grape leaves
- 185 ml (¾ cup) olive oil
- 2 onions, finely chopped
- 500 g pork mince
- 500 g beef mince
- 1–2 very ripe tomatoes, finely chopped
- 1 small bunch flat-leaf parsley, chopped
- 2 tbsp chopped mint
- pinch of salt
- ¼ tsp ground cumin
- ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground coriander
- 250 ml (1 cup) tomato passata
- 200 g (1 cup) long-grain rice, rinsed
- 1 lemon, juiced, plus lemon wedges to serve
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Place the grape leaves, in batches, into just–boiled water to soften. Drain well.
Heat 60 ml (¼ cup) of the oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook the onion for 5–6 minutes, or until soft. Remove from the heat.
Combine the onion, mince, tomato, herbs, salt, spices, passata and rice in a bowl. Place 1 tbsp of mixture in the centre of each leaf and roll up to form a parcel, tucking in ends as you go. Snugly fit koupepia in a flameproof casserole dish and add enough water to just cover. Place a plate on top to keep koupepia submerged and hold their shape.
Pour over the lemon juice and remaining olive oil, then cover and simmer over low heat for 30–45 minutes. Serve with a squeeze of lemon juice.