1 jar of grape leaves,
1 lb. ground beef,
1 large onion, finely chopped,
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh dill,
1 Tbsp. fresh mint leaves, chopped,
2 Tbsp. chopped parsley,
1 ripe tomato, diced,
2 cups of rice,
1 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper,
3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil,
2 cups chicken stock or water,
1/4 tsp. ground cumin,
2 cloves garlic, chopped.
Recipe: Take out the grape leaves from the jar and rinse them. Keep the grape leaves in cold water for about 5 minutes in order to eliminate the bitter taste. In the mean time, heat the olive oil in a large pan and saute the garlic, onion, rice and tomato, until the rice turns opaque. Add the rest of the ingredients except the chicken stock and cook for 5 minutes more, making sure the ground beef don't form clumps. Take the grape leaves and put one tablespoon of the stuffing on the center of every leaf. Don't wrap them too tightly because the rice will expend some more during cooking. Roll small parcels and arrange them on the bottom of a saucepan. I recommend spreading some chopsticks on the bottom of the pan to prevent burning. When you have rolled all the vine leaves, pour the chicken stock or water in the saucepan and close it with a lid. Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer.
Simmer for about 35 minutes or until the rice in the stuffing is cooked. Add more stock or water if necessary. Let the stuffed grape leaves stand for about 10 minutes before serving.
About the author: George Krumov is a Red Seal certified chef with many years of culinary experience working around the world in Europe, the Middle East, the cruise line industry and North America. In the last two decades he has headed the kitchens of several restaurants in Canada, and ran his own restaurant.