Graf Family Recipe by Pat Graf
Grape leaves are plentiful and can be found everywhere in the area, USA and world. We usually use the type of grape leaves on vines without grapes.
07/18/08 663 Grape Leaves, picked, cleaned, frozen and Ready
60–100 medium size grape leaves.
1 ½ pounds ground chuck
1 cup long grain white rice
1/2 tsp. allspice
1 tsp cinnamon
salt to taste
mint leaves (1 Tbls)
1 to 2 lemons
If you wish to freeze grape leaves: wash and spin and/or pat dry and pack into freezer bags. Freeze for future use.
Pour boiling water over rice and soak for half an hour or more. Drain. Transfer to a large bowl and mix with salt, spices, and meat.
Blanch the grape leaves in boiling water for a minute or two.
Line the bottom of a large cooking pot with meat bones or a layer of grape leaves.
On a flat surface, lay a grape leaf, vein side facing up, with the pointed end of the leaf facing away from you. Using your fingers, place about a spoonful of filling horizontally across the broad part of the leaf. Fold the sides of the leaf over the ends of the filling. Do the same with the bottom of the leaf that faces you so that it covers the whole line of filling and keep rolling until you have a finger-like shape. Place in the pot and continue until all leaves and filling are used, stacking them layer upon layer.
When all the grape leaves are in the pot place an old plate on top for weight. This will prevent the leaves from loosening up while cooking. Pour boiling water into the pot to barely cover the contents and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to simmer and cook for approximately one hour. Check to see if rice is tender. When done, remove plate and squeeze the juice of one lemon onto the leaves. You may dot with butter to add shine. Transfer to a platter and squeeze more lemon juice over the grape leaves if desired.
Serve with yogurt dipping sauce:
Salt to taste
Garlic powder to taste
Mint leaves to taste