16 ounces grape leaves from a jar, rinsed, drained, and stems removed
3/4 cup olive oil
2 pounds ground lamb (or 1 pound ground lamb plus 1 pound ground beef)
1 cup rice, uncooked
1 onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
16 ounces water or chicken broth
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
1 teaspoon dried crushed oregano
1 teaspoon salt
freshly ground pepper to taste
1/2 cup freshly lemon juice
In a large mixing bowl, combine the ground meat, salt, pepper, herbs and mix well. Add the rice and mix until well combined.
Rinse and dry the grape leaves. Cut the hard stem from each leaf. Reserve the smallest and the torn leaves to lay on bottom of pot.
Lay a grape leaf shiny side down and place a tablespoon of rice filling on the bottom end of the leaf, near the stem.
Fold the stem end of leaf over the filling. Fold the sides over and roll up snugly but not too tight. The rice will expand while cooking.
Repeat with all of the remaining grape leaves until your filling is done.
Layer half of the small and torn grape leaves to create a bed for the dolmades in a pot.
Place the dolmades seam side down and very close together over the bed of leaves. Season lightly with salt and pepper.
Pour the olive oil and lemon juice over the dolmades.
Place the remaining reserved small leaves over the dolmades.
Pour the water or chicken stock over the dolmades dolmades.
Place an inverted plate over the dolmades to weigh them down and to prevent them from moving around and opening while cooking.
Cover with lid and bring to a boil.
Reduce to simmer and cook about 40-60 minutes or until the rice is tender.
There will still be some liquid in the pot. Allow to cool for at least 30 minutes and the juices will be absorbed.
Plate and drizzle some olive oil over them. Serve with delicious tzatziki sauce.