There are MANY different version of stuffed grape leaves and not all are of Lebanese origin. For this recipe you'll need:
1 lb ground lamb
1 jar grape leaves
1 cup UNCOOKED rice
3 heaping tsp garlic
1 1/2 tsp mint leaves
1 tsp salt
dash of pepper
What are grape leaves you ask? Leaves from a grape plant and yes, they are edible. Grape leaves are these:
I bought these at Giant and you can find them in most grocery stores. The problem with finding them is location in the store. I have seen them in the pickle section, the ethnic section and by the olive oils. There are a few different brands out there and I buy whatever I can find.
First thing you want to do is open the leaves and rinse them off. When you open the jar, there will be three large cigar type rolls in there, like this:
Hold this roll under warm water and SLOWLY unroll them trying not to rip any (you will probably rip a few but that's OK. They will then look like this:
For this recipe you'll use about 2 rolls. Save the third for the next time you make these... because you will, they're yummy! Next you want to mix together all the other ingredients EXCEPT the lemon juice.
Now, separate your first leaf and lay it out. Take a small amount of meat mixture and roll it into a cigar shape, about the size of your thumb, like this:
You want to put this in a large skillet on top of the stove, no need to put anything on the bottom of the pan. make sure the end of the roll, the seam, is on the bottom.
Continue making your little "cigars" and putting them around the pan. You can squish them all in there.
Next thing you want to do is put plain ol water in the pan. I used about 2 cups so they are slightly covered.
Then you want to cover with a pie pan so the leaves do not float.
Once the leaves are done, put them on a plate and drizzle with the lemon juice. Your delicious creation will look like this:
I hope you enjoy this as much as I do!