(Greek Stuffed Grape Leaves)
- 2 1/2 lbs. ground beef (uncooked)
- 1 bunch of green onions, chopped
- 16 oz jar of grape leaves (can find at most Persian Markets)
- 8 oz can of tomato sauce
- 1 egg
- ¾ C of white long grain white rice (uncooked)
- Salt n pepper to taste
- 4-5 lemons (sliced)
- 2 T Oregano
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 3T Basil
- Mix in a large bowl: - Meat, onions, rice, tomato sauce, egg, salt, pepper, lemon zest, garlic and Oregano. (note: some people add basil). If I have time I let this sit overnight in the fridge. But not necessary.
- NEXT: (ready to roll) - Boil the leaves (half the jar at a time) in a pot of boiling water with a couple table spoons of Olive oil for 45 seconds.
- Pull out carefully and set aside to cool a bit. I put on a plate with a few paper towels. (to help soak up water)
- THEN: Line the bottom of a large pot with grape leaves.
- Roll some of the meat mixture in a flat grape leaf vain side up.(depending on size, about 1 -2 tablespoons of meat.) Roll like a burrito pulling the sides in. Don’t roll to tightly, they need room to expand during cooking.
- Place each rolled leaf on the bottom of a large pot. Line rolled leaves evenly around the outside of the pot and the next row on the inside of that until the pot is filled with the first row.
- When you get a full layer in the pot, place sliced lemon slices on top of those grape leaves and start the second row and then third row.
- When you have about 3 layers. Cover last layer with lemon slices and then grape leaves. (I use the broken and defective leaves)
- I put small plates on top to weigh down, (2 or 3) and fill a little more than ¾ full with water. Cover with lid.
- Note: Do not fill pot with grape leaves and water. You will need space for overflow of water and fat from the meat. (That’s why I use lean ground beef).
- Cook on the Stovetop: 45 Minutes on Medium heat. I’ve always used a gas stove. Grape leaves should be done by then. Sometime the rice is a little stubborn. I put the rolled leaves in Casserole dishes with lids for a short while to help finish the rice.
- Some squeeze lemon juice on top when cooled. I don’t and that’s why I add the lemon zest in the recipe.