Lebanese Stuffed Grape Leaves
Reese's is the best brand for grape leaves that I've found so far, but others have recommended Mezzetta, Aristocrat and Orlando.
- 3/4 cup uncooked rice (not instant)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon allspice
- 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 cup minced parsley
- 2 tablespoons minced mint leaves
- 2 tablespoons melted butter
- 1 pound lean ground lamb, uncooked
- 24 grape leaves
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1 (8-ounce) jar grape leaves yields about 48 good ones.
- 0.5 ounces mint leaves yields about 1/4 cup.
- Doubling the recipe yields enough mix for 60-64 grape leaves.
Put the rice in a colander and rinse three times with cold water.
Combine the salt, pepper, allspice, and cinnamon, and sprinkle over the rice, stirring to mix well. Add the parsley and mint, and mix. Add the butter and uncooked lamb to the rice, and mix well.
Place the grape leaves in a large bowl and cover with boiling water to soften. Let soak for at least 3 minutes. Remove and drain in colander. Cool, then trim off stems. (Note: save any torn leaves to use to patch others when rolling them up.)
To stuff leaves, place a Tablespoon of the rice and lamb mixture on each leaf. Beginning with the stem end, roll the leaf up over the filling, then fold in each side halfway to the center, and then finish rolling from the bottom upward so you have a nice cigar-shaped package by the time you reach the top. Keep them snug, but do not roll too tightly, since the filling will expand while cooking.
Cover the bottom of a dutch oven with a few of the torn grape leaves. Arrange the stuffed grape leaves in neat, tight rows, one layer on top of the other. Drizzle with olive oil. Pour 1 cup of chicken broth over the grape leaves and add enough water to almost cover.
Insert a heavy dish on top of the grape leaves to hold them in place, so the bottom of the dish is pressing down on them. Bring the pot to a boil, reduce heat and simmer on low for about 1 hour, or until the grape leaves are tender.
Serve warm with plain yoghurt.
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