A challenge to prepare, but a delight to eat!
- 1 (16 ounce) jars grape leaves
- 2 lbs beef or 2 lbs lamb, minced
- 1 cup long-grain uncooked rice (basmati rice works best)
- 3/4 cup tomato sauce
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 medium onions, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 pinch ground cardamom
- 1/2 cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice
- 2/3 cup canola oil
- 4 -5 carrots
- Soak grape leaves in water for 20 minutes. Drain.
- Peel and slice carrots lengthwise and line bottom of pot with them. This helps keep the grape leaves from sticking to the pot.
- Soak rice in hot water for 10 minutes and drain. In a large bowl, combine rice, beef, onion, garlic, tomato sauce, tomato paste, and all spices.
- Place each grape leaf shiny side down with stem end toward you on a flat surface. Cut off stem. Place 1 tbsp of rice mixture on leaf near the stem end. Roll top over once, fold ends in, and continue to roll completely (rolling away from you). Repeat with remaining leaves.
- Arrange rolled grape leaves in pot seam side down, tightly packed. Place each layer in opposite direction of previous layer, in a criss-cross fashion. For even cooking, try to have no more than 4 layers.
- Combine lemon juice and oil and pour over grape leaves. Top with water until approximately 1″ below top layer.
- Place large plate on top, and place a heavy weight on plate (a foil-wrapped brick works great).
- Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 1 hour 15 minutes to 1 hour 30 minutes, until rice is thoroughly cooked. Allow to rest for 20-30 minutes.
- Serve with lemon wedges or Greek yogurt. Enjoy!
Total Time: 2 hrs
Prep Time: 45 min
Cook Time: 1hr 15 min
Photo credit: 90pluswine.com