Stuffed Black Currant Leaves ‒ Viinimarjanlehtikääryleet

I'm a bit of a fan of making "Finnishized" versions of dishes normally attributed to whole different nations. You take the basic idea of the dish but swap the main ingredients into some local ones. Often the result is closer to the original idea than the hardcore versions that count on finding preserved but hard-to-acquire ingredients in the place of fresh ones.

Last summer I got a packet of grape leaves so we made a large pot of dolmades, a Greek dish where rice is wrapped inside the leaves. They were great though I still don't know what grape leaves really taste like since those were heavily preserved in tartaric acid.

This year I thought I'd localize the recipe. Black currant leaves are very aromatic and currants in general are called "wine berries" or viinimarja in Finnish so I thought they'd work great in this type of a dish. Seems I'm not exactly the first person who's used them this way so I took some model from this recipe which also uses rice as the stuffing. Whenever a recipe calls for rice I usually apply oat but it tastes a bit mild. So this time I thought I'd try processed spelt for a slightly nuttier flavour. Most recipes seem to call for a really long list of spices which to me sounds like they're not sure to what direction they want to take it, so I went with a fairly simple list instead.

- 40 large black currant leaves
- 2 dl pearl spelt
- 0.5 dl pine nuts
- 1 small punch of fresh mint
- 3 garlic cloves
- 2 tbsp rape oil
- cinnamon
- clove
- salt

For the broth
- 1 dl rape oil
- 0.5 dl lemon juice
- 1 dose of stock
- 2 tsp brown sugar
- salt

Cook the spelt in salty water for about 20 minutes. Roast the nuts on a dry pan a bit so they'll get colour on their cheeks. Mince the garlic and the mint. Mix the stuffing ingredients together.

Cook the currant leaves in plenty of water for about five minutes to soften them up. Take two leaves at a time. Cut their stems off and place them on each other so they'll overlap in the middle. Scoop a teaspoonful of the stuffing in the middle. Fold the edges of the leaves on the stuffing and roll them into small cigars. Place each cigar carefully but tightly into a casserole.

Mix the broth ingredients and pour over the casserole. (Add some water too if the amount of liquid doesn't seem enough.) Place in a 150°C oven for about an hour. You can eat them right away, but if you have the patience you can wait a day or two for them to juice up in the fridge. This is also the reason why it's a great idea to make a big portion of them while you're at it.

Nutritional values / 628 g:
energy 2371 kcal
fat 192 g
protein 43 g
carbohydrates 149 g
fiber 30 g

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