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Stuffed Grape Leaves

Tart lemon juice, vibrant fresh herbs and rich butter and veal create a satisfying mouthful.

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  • Servings: 8

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  • 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter
  • 2 large red onions, minced
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground veal
  • 1 cup medium-grain rice, such as Valencia
  • 1/4 cup chopped dill
  • 1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • One 16-ounce jar brined grape leaves, rinsed
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • Cilantro sprigs, for garnish
  • Plain yogurt, for serving


  1. In a large skillet, melt 4 tablespoons of the butter over moderately low heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened but not browned, about 8 minutes; let cool to room temperature. In a large bowl, mix the onions with the veal, raw rice, dill, parsley, salt and pepper until thoroughly combined.
  2. Spread the grape leaves, vein side up, on a work surface. Separate the larger leaves; piece together the smaller leaves, overlapping the edges, to approximate the size of the larger leaves. Set 2 tablespoons of the onion mixture in the center of each leaf. Pull the leaf up and over the filling and roll up, folding in the sides as you go.
  3. In a large saucepan over moderately high heat, melt the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter in the water and lemon juice; remove the pan from the heat. Snugly arrange the rolls in the pan in a spokelike pattern in 2 layers. Set a heatproof plate on the rolls to keep them submerged. Cover and cook over moderately high heat for 20 minutes, then simmer over low heat until all of the liquid has been absorbed, about 10 minutes. Serve hot or warm, garnished with coriander sprigs. Pass the yogurt separately.

Make Ahead

The Stuffed Grape Leaves can be refrigerated for 1 day.

Contributed By Photo © William Abranowicz Published April 1998

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