I’ve been eating stuffed grape leaves by the can since I was a kid – my mom used to pack them in my lunchbox, much to the outspoken skepticism of my Fluffernutter-eating peers. The best part about making these yourself is there’s no way to just make a dozen or two. A jar of grape leaves contains about 40, so it’s dolma mass-production no matter how many people you’re feeding.
- 1 jar grape leaves in brine (about 40)
- ¾ cup good quality olive oil, divided
- 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
- 2 cups cooked long-grain rice
- 2 green onions, white and light green part only, finely chopped
- 1/3 cup fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons lemon zest
- ½ cup pine nuts, toasted and coarsely chopped
- ½ cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
Unroll, drain, and rinse the grape leaves, then blanch in a large pot of salted, boiling water in batches of 10 for 2-3 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain in a colander.
In the meantime, heat ¼ cup of olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat and sauté the yellow onion until translucent, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add rice, green onion, mint, lemon zest, pine nuts and ¼ cup olive oil. Mix well and allow to come to room temperature, about 20 minutes.
Assemble each one by laying a leaf flat on a cutting board with the ribs facing up (shiny side down) and the stem facing you. Add a heaping tablespoon of filling in the middle, then roll the stem end up over it, tuck in the edges, and continue rolling up until you’ve formed a seal.
Place the finished rolls, seam side down, in tight layers in a medium saucepan. Pour in remaining olive oil and lemon juice, then add boiling water to cover. Cover and simmer for one hour, then allow to cool completely before serving.