Stuffed Grape Leaves with Apricots
2 tbsp. tamarind concentrate
4 tbsp. light brown sugar
2–4 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
8 oz. dried apricot halves
1 lb. ground beef
1 cup long-grain rice
1 tbsp. ground allspice
1 8-oz. jar of grape leaves,
leaves drained and rinsed
1. Combine tamarind with 4 cups hot water in a medium bowl. Mix well, then add 2 tbsp. sugar, lemon juice, and a pinch salt. Set aside.
2. Place apricots in a small bowl. Cover with hot water and set aside to soften for 10 minutes. Combine ground beef, rice, allspice, 1/2 cup water, and 1 tbsp. salt in a large bowl. Mix well. Drain apricots and set aside.
3. To assemble, lay a grape leaf, stem towards you, vein side up, on a clean surface. Pinch off stem, then spoon about 1 tbsp. beef mixture into center. Fold in sides and roll from stem edge towards outer edge of leaf, forming a cylinder about 2 1/2" long. Grape leaves should be rolled tightly enough to hold their shape but loosely enough to allow rice to expand. Repeat process, stuffing and rolling grape leaves. Place a layer of stuffed leaves in an oiled 2-qt. flameproof baking dish and arrange half the apricots on top and sprinkle with 1 tbsp. sugar; cover with another layer of stuffed grape leaves and another layer of apricots, and sprinkle with remaining sugar.
4. Preheat oven to 350°. Pour tamarind mixture over grape leaves (liquid should just cover them), cover, then simmer slowly on top of stove over low heat for 45 minutes. Transfer baking dish to oven and continue cooking for 45 minutes more. Serve warm, moistened with cooking juices, as an appetizer or as a side dish.