Koupepia (recipe)

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  • 375 g (12 oz) preserved vine leaves or 60 fresh leaves
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoon oil
  • 500 g (1 lb) fine ground lamb
  • 250 g (8 oz) finely ground veal
  • 1/2 cup rice
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped mint
  • salt
  • fresh ground white pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 cups light stock
  • Sauce:


  1. Rinse vine leaves (whether fresh or preserved) in cold water and blanch in boiling water for 3 minutes in 3 or 4 lots.
  2. Remove to a basin of cold water with slotted spoon, then into a colander to drain.
  3. Gently fry onion in oil until soft.
  4. Lightly mix lamb, veal, rice, onion and oil, herbs, salt and pepper until well combined.
  5. Place a vine leaf, shiny side down, on a work surface.
  6. Place about a tablespoon of mixture near stem end, fold end and sides over stuffing and roll firmly. Snip off stem if necessary.
  7. Line base of a pan with 6 leaves (use damaged ones) and pack koupepia close together in layers.
  8. Sprinkle each layer with a little of the lemon juice.
  9. Cover top of rolls with remaining grape vine leaves.
  10. Add the butter and stock to pan with any remaining lemon juice.
  11. Cover pan with lid and place over medium heat. Bring to a slow simmer, then simmer gently over a low heat for 1 1/2 hours.

To make sauce

  1. Melt butter in a small saucepan and stir in flour.
  2. Cook 2 minutes without browning and stir in stock.
  3. Stir constantly until sauce thickens and bubbles.
  4. Beat eggs in a bowl until frothy and beat in 1 tablespoon lemon juice.
  5. Pour the hot sauce into the eggs gradually, beating constantly.
  6. Return sauce to pan and stir over a gentle heat for 2 minutes to cook the egg.
  7. Drain rolls and arrange on serving dish.

Serve sauce in a separate container. May be served cold without sauce. (source mec) Makes 4 dozen rolls. Care must be taken, as the sauce may curdle. If this happens, sprinkle a little cold water into sauce and beat with egg whisk.