Stuffed Grape Leaves

Joan's recipe 6/27/16


1. In a bowl, combine meat with salt, pepper, cinnamon and mashed allspice. Then mix in rice and combine well.

2. Put 1 large leaf or 2-3 smaller grapeleaves at the bottom of a dutch oven to prevent sticking (I use a dutch oven that is about 4" tall and 8 1/2 " wide)

3. To prepare individual grapeleaves:
Rinse leaf in Warm water. Then place a heaping teaspoon of ground beef/rice mixture at the base of the wrong side of leaf (vein side up). Roll bottom edge up over meat mixture, tuck in sides and continue rolling all the way up to the tip, squeezing gently so as to get a tight roll.

4. Place completed lea? tucked edge downward inside the pan, at the edge. Continue rolling each leave and place next to the previous leaf (leave no gaps), so that you are creating concentric circles from the outside toward the center. Grapeleaves should be packed snugly.

5. When the first layer of leaves has been rolled, place small sliced pieces of garlic (4-6) among the leaves.

6. Roll grapeleaves for the second layer, placing them at the outside edge of the pot and then working inward, as before. Add garlic slivers as before.

7. To cook:
a. Add 1 tsp salt to 1 cup tap water, mix well and pour on top of leaves. (idea is that water level should be slightly at or below grapeleaves) Place stoneware plate or pot lid on top of grapeleaves to hold them down, cover pot and bring to a boil (will take about 10 mins)
b. Once boiling begins: remove plate or pot lid, add 1/2 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice, replace plate or pot lid and simmer for 25 mins for canned leaves and about 40 mins. for fresh leaves (while cooking there will seem to be a lot of liquid in the pot, but this will dissipate and be absorbed into the leaves. When cooking is done, there should be very little liquid left at the bottom of the pot.)

8. Let grapeleaves cool in pot about 15 mins before removing and serving.

Note: Grapeleaves can be bought packed in a jar from most grocery stores (ethnic section). If using leaves from a jar, they tend to be large and should be trimmed, using kitchen scissors to about the size of your palm. If you have a source for fesh leaves, place 20-25 Unwashed leaves in quart ziplock bags, press down to remove all the air and store in the freezer for future use.