You may remember my blog post, Hummus like grandpa used to make in which I posted a hummus recipe and reminisced about how great it was to be born to a Lebanese Grandpa. I’m sharing another of Grandpa’s family recipes today. Stuffed Grape leaves were a main course that we regularly ate – especially for holiday dinners. The full printable recipe is found at the end of this post.
In my family, everyone gathers around the table with a plate and takes a stack of leaves and starts rolling – even the kids! Me and my siblings have a tradition of critiquing each others work – making cracks about the quality of one anothers rolling. “Too small! Make them tighter!” We rarely miss an opportunity to give each other a hard time. This year, we lost my older brother during the rolling process and Max and I were left to roll them. We only cut Art a little slack because he has a new baby. Next year, we’re holding him accountable!
Prepare your ground beef by adding the rice, salt, pepper and allspice. Get your hands in there and mix well. I tried to get a good picture for you but came to the sad conclusion that there just isn’t any way to make ground beef look nice, so you’ll have to settle for the picture below.
Although fresh can be used, we’ve always started with a jar of grape leaves. You can find them at many of the large grocers near the bottled olives. If your local grocer doesn’t carry them, you’ll find them at a Middle Eastern or Mediterranean grocer.
Drain the leaves and cut off the stems.
Place approximately 2 tablespoons of the ground beef mixture on your leaf and mold it with your fingers into a log.
Fold the top portion of the leaf over the ground beef mixture.
Fold in each side of the leaf.
Roll down the length of the leaf.
Your finished stuffed grape leaf should look like this. Roll them tightly so they’ll stay together when cooking.
Stack the leaves so they are packed fairly tightly in your pan. Add lemon juice then just cover the leaves with water.
Place a bowl or heavy plate onto the leaves to weight them so that they won’t move during cooking.
Serve with plain yogurt or sour cream and pita bread.
Grandpa's Grape Leaves
- 1 16 oz. bottle of grape leaves
- 2 pounds of ground beef
- 2 cups of white rice basmati is my favorite!
- 2 tablespoons of allspice
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1/2 cup of lemon juice
- Add rice, salt, pepper and allspice to ground beef and mix together.
- Drain bottle of grape leaves and cut off stems
- Place approximately 2 tablespoons of ground beef mixture onto leaf and roll.
- Place leaves tightly into pan.
- Add lemon juice and water to cover leaves.
- Place heavy bowl or plate on top of the leaves so that they do not float and unroll during boiling.
- Simmer for about 45 minutes.
- Serve with plain yogurt or sour cream and pita.