Instant Pot Grape Leaves
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2020 has thrown me completely for a loop. Many of my blog posts earlier in the year had me naively preparing for the birth of baby #3 who ended up being born at the height of the pandemic in Manhattan. No amount of preparation could have prepared me for what ensued — including his incredibly precipitous delivery (which I still need to write up) — this year has been one crazy ride. We have since packed up and moved across the country, began renovations on my husband’s childhood home, put school on hold for my kids until next year, my husband has started a new job, my business has finally taken off so I am busier than ever, and we are living with my parents while we wait for our house to be ready.
One thing I did on a whim this summer was purchase an “Instant Pot.” I actually purchased this Crock Pot Pressure Cooker on a deal (follow Naptime Deals for the best deals all year round!) and think it might have a slight advantage over the traditional Instant Pot in that it comes with a non-stick pot. I like that a lot, and it’s made it very easy to clean! (Though I have not used the traditional Instant Pot so I don’t have a true comparison!!)
I found the inspiration for this recipe in one of the Instant Pot cookbooks I got from the library, and I can’t find which one it was… but I made it my own based on my original traditional grape leaves that I have been making for years. I am IN LOVE with this recipe — it is the BEST — mostly because EVERYONE and I mean EVERYONE in my family will eat it AND ALSO because I can have it on the table from start to finish in THIRTY MINUTES (really!!!) I think it is the first recipe I have found besides taco meat that keeps everyone happy. Here’s how to make it, with step by step photos (I apologize for the poor lighting, I need to re-take these once I get in my new kitchen!!!) I also included a “printable”/traditionally typed recipe at the end:
- 1 lb. ground beef
- Olive Oil
- Fresh garlic
- Spices: garlic powder, onion powder, cinnamon, salt, pepper
- Grape Leaves
- Basmati Rice
- Plain Yogurt (for dipping/topping)
- Salad (optional)
- Using the Saute feature of the pressure cooker, sautee about 2 T of olive oil with about a T or two of pressed garlic. Stir a bit then add 1 lb of meat.
- Top the meat with spices — I do a layer of garlic powder, onion powder, cinnamon, salt, and pepper.
- Break up meat and stir, browning the meat until it’s almost completely cooked. Then turn off the cooker.
- While the meat is browning, rinse 1 cup of basmati rice under cold water until the water runs clear.
- Also while the meat is browning, chop up 1/2 of a jar of grape leaves. Cut out and discard the large stem ends in the bottom center of the leaves. I do this in bulk — chop each side of the stack of leaves, then chop of the bottom of the center portion and discard. And then chop all the leaves into small squares.
- Rinse the chopped leaves and push them around with your hands to separate them as much as you can.
- Add to the pot of meat the rinsed leaves and rice and 1 cup of water.
- Close the pot and set to manual high pressure for 6 minutes and START.
- When the cooking is complete, release the pressure and open the pot once it’s finished. Add a bit of lemon juice and olive oil and stir.
- Serve with salted plain yogurt and salad. Enjoy!!