Lebanese Stuffed Grape Leaves
- 1 pound ground beef
- 3/4 cup uncooked white rice
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons allspice
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 jar grape leaves, or about 50 fresh grape leaves
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 pound pork or lamb chops
- 1 tomato, sliced
- 1/2 cup lemon juice
- 40 garlic cloves
In a large mixing bowl, mix together the ground beef, rice, garlic powder, allspice, salt, pepper, and cinnamon, and set aside.
Rinse grape leaves several times. If the leaves are small, leave them intact, but cut out the large center vein. If the leaves are large, cut them in half vertically, cutting out the large vein in the process. Place a small amount of the ground meat mixture at the end of each leaf. Roll up egg-roll style.
Pour the oil into the bottom of a large Dutch oven. Lay the chops over the oil. Lay the tomato slices over the chops.
Place the stuffed grape leaves seam-side down on top of the chops. Pack the leaves tightly and begin a second layer when necessary. Place whole garlic cloves randomly between the rolled leaves; plenty of garlic on each layer.
When you are done stacking, pour the lemon juice over the leaves, and add water to the pot to about 2-inches above the rolled leaves. To prevent the leaves from unrolling during cooking, place a plate on top of the stack of leaves and place a heavy object on top of the plate.
Simmer the leaves over low heat for about 2 hours.
Invert the entire Dutch oven into a large platter with high sides (i.e. a 12-inch round cake pan). Or, remove the leaves from the pot with tongs. Serve rustic style, with plenty of Arabic bread on which to spread the garlic!
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Recipe courtesy Laura Turcotte