Stuffed Grape Leaves


60 loose grape leaves, see below for picking and storage
1 cup whole grain white rice uncooked (Uncle Ben's parboiled is best)
1 pound ground lamb or ground sirloin talk to your butcher
2 cloves fresh garlic
cup real lemon or 1-2 fresh lemons
4 tablespoons salt
4 Tablespoons butter


Mix meat and rice together by hand as you would meat loaf ingredients. After thoroughly combined set aside.
Take single leaf and an index finger size of meat. Be certain that meat mixture is tightly packed. Place this mixture on the back side of the leaf (the lightest side) at 1/4 to 1/2 inch from the base of leaf (the widest part). Roll base of leaf over meat. Fold left and right side of leaf toward middle over ends of meat mixture. Continue to roll leaf and mixture to end of leaf. When completed it should resemble a small cigar. Repeat this process until you have made 45-50 rolled GRAPE LEAVES. Be careful not to overfill the leaves since the meat and rice will expand in the cooking process. Judge amount of meat mixture by the size of leaf.
When completed take remaining leaves and line the bottom of small, non Teflon cooking pot with them. (This will keep them from sticking to the bottom of the pot.) Carefully pack the rolled GRAPE LEAVES with water to 1/2 inch above. Add lemon juice, garlic, butter and salt. Cover with a saucer that will fit in the pot and does not cover the edges. Press the saucer down to continue a tight packing of the rolled GRAPE LEAVES and place a coffee mug full of water on the plate. Bring pot to boil and reduce flame to slow boil. Continue cooking for 45-60 minutes. Fully cooked when meat mixture and ric




Megan Sailor's picture

To acheive the best texture of rice it is better to use a par-boiled cooked rice such as Uncle Ben's. This keeps the rice firm without having any of the starch that is present in regular cooked rice.


It is advised that if you have access to a grape vine, the "BEST" leaves should be picked in June when they first start to come on the vine. Pick leaves that are about the size of the palm of your hand. If you pick leaves later in the year, try to pick the younger leaves as the older ones have a tendency to be tough and very bitter. Also, if you pick more leaves than for one service, just place as many leaves in plastic wrap (usually 50) then wrap in aluminum foil. Place in freezer. DO NOT WASH LEAVES BEFORE YOU STORE OR FREEZE THEM. WASH ONLY AT TIME OF USE. You can purchase pre-packed grape leaves at the grocery store, but you will find them very salty, hard to work with, and the taste will vary. If you save the leaves from the bottom of the pot, you can use them to cover any left overs and store in the refrigerator. For a warm up, place in microwave oven with a little lemon juice and a couple of pats of butter placed atop the leaves. Microwave for 4-5 minutes.


6.0 to 8 servings


Friday, December 10, 2010 - 1:02am


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