Stuffed Grape Leaves
I have been making these since I was about five. My mother learned how to make them when she was in Lebanon, but the recipe over the years has become more Syrian. — Kevin
- 1 16oz jar of grape leaves ( I usually use the Orlando brand, but I know there are a ton of them out there.)
- 2 cup of beef broth(The beef broth is basically to flavor the rice as the grape leaves cook. It can be replaced by a beef bouillon or by a couple of lamb bones in the pot)
- Half an onion
- 3 1/2 juiced lemons
- 1lb of ground beef (Raw. Lamb is better, but with prices the way they are I have always used beef)
- 1 3/4 cup of rice (Raw. The kind isn’t super important, I usually use a long grain white rice. I’ve found Basmati to be a bit too dry.)
- 1 tsp allspice
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 juiced lemon
Lay a grape leaf on a work surface, shiny-side down. Put a little more than a thumb width of filling horizontally crossing the stem side of the leaf roughly in the center of the leaf. The filling should leave about half an inch on either side of the leaf exposed. Fold the stem end over the filling, then fold both sides toward the middle, and roll up into a cigar – it should be snug but not overly tight because the rice will swell once it is fully cooked. The size of the roll kind of depends on the leaf size. Bigger leaves bigger rolls.
In the bottom of the pot with a few leaves. Then place the onion, and or bones in the center of the pot you are using. It’s best if it has high sides. Arrange the mahshi (as you finish rolling them) around the layer of onion and bones in a concentric circle starting at the outside and working your way in. They should be rather snug. After all of the mahshi are in the pot sprinkle them with some salt, and some of the lemon juice. Place a somewhat heavy inverted plate in the pot on top of the leaves. This keeps them from coming apart as they cook.
Add the broth till the plate is slightly covered (if bones are used instead than simply add water). Add the lemon juice, and a bit of the brine that the leaves soaked in. Bring to a boil, and then lower to a simmer for about an hour. Check the pot occasionally while it cooks to make sure that liquid is still covering the plate if it becomes uncovered add more water.
After the hour check one of the leaves to see if the rice is done. If so take it off the burner, and allow it to cool. Remove the mahshi from the pot with a slotted spoon.
These can be served hot or cold, and prepared up to a week in advance. Freeze well.