Heat the olive oil in a casserole and add the garlic. When the garlic begins to sizzle, remove it and add all but 2 tablespoons of the chopped onions. Sauté them for 5-8 minutes. Add the tomatoes and their juice, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and cook slowly for at least an hour. Season with the cumin, marjoram, and salt and pepper to taste.
Sauté the remaining 2 tablespoons of chopped onions in a saucepan in 1 tablespoon of the butter. When the onion is soft and clear, add the rice and stir. Add the chicken stock and cover the rice with a buttered lid (wax paper works well). Cook in a preheated 350° oven for about 20 minutes. Stir 3 tablespoons of butter into the hot rice, let it melt, then cool.
Turn the rice into a large bowl, add the meat, pignoli nuts, raisins, coriander, parsley, 1 teaspoon (or to taste) of pepper and salt. Mix ingredients well.
Wash the grape leaves under very cold water and spread them on the counter. Put about one tablespoon of the meat mixture in the center of each leaf. Fold the leaf and pin together with a toothpick.
Place the rolled grape leaves in a deep baking pan and cover them with sauce. Add additional layers and more sauce as needed. Cover the pan with aluminum foil and cook for about an hour and a half in a preheated 350° oven. If the sauce dries too much, add a little water.
Yield: about 18.
You can make these a day ahead as finger food for a party. If your guests aren't familiar with stuffed grape leaves, you might want to warn that they are best eaten as finger food or cut with a sharp knife.
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© 1998 Ronald Florence Last modified: 31-Oct-2001 17:59:51 EST