Prep 1 hr
Cook 30 mins
Mark Bittman; he recommends if you cannot get fresh grape leaves, you may prefer using cabbage or chard leaves instead of bottled grape leaves, which he says have little flavor.
- 40 large grape leaves (you will need extra because some will be imperfect)
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for garnish
- 1 cup minced onion
- 1⁄4 cup pine nuts
- 1 cup long grain rice
- 1⁄2 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 1⁄2 cups chicken stock or 1 1⁄2 cups beef stock or 1 1⁄2 cups vegetable stock or 1 1⁄2 cups water
- fresh ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons minced of fresh mint or 2 tablespoons fresh dill
- 4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil; parboil grape leaves, a few at a time, until they are tender and pliable, just a couple of minutes.
- Drain leaves, then cut off the stems and remove any hard veins near the base of the leaves; pat dry with paper towels.
- Meanwhile, add olive oil to a large, deep skillet over med-high heat.
- One minute later, add in the onion; cook, stirring, until it is tender, about 5 minutes.
- Add in the pine nuts, rice, allspice, 1 teaspoon salt, and stock.
- Cover, decrease heat to med-low, and cook about 10-12 minutes, until the rice is somewhat tender but still quite al dente.
- Cool in a large bowl, check flavor for salt, and add lots of pepper, the mint, and half the lemon juice.
- One at a time, place the grape leaves, shiny side down, on a work surface; put 1 tablespoon rice mixture in the middle of the leaf.
- Fold over the stem end, then the sides, then roll toward the tip, making a neat little package.
- Don’t roll too tightly, as the rice will continue to expand during cooking.
- Place the packages side by side in a roasting pan or skillet (layering them is fine), add water (or even better, more stock) to come about halfway up the rolls, and weight with a heatproof plate.
- Cover the pan/skillet and cook over low heat for 30 minutes, until most of the liquid is absorbed.
- Drain; serve at room temperature, sprinkled with remaining lemon juice and a bit of olive oil.