Grape leaves are stuffed with a beef, herb, and rice mixture in this slightly-sweet version of Iranian dolmeh.
- 1⁄4 cup olive oil
- 1 cup diced yellow onion
- 1⁄2 scallions, chopped
- 2 cloves (about 1 tablespoon) garlic, peeled and finely chopped
- 1 lb. ground beef
- 1⁄3 cup split green peas
- 2⁄3 cup basmati rice, rinsed
- 1⁄2 cup fresh dill, finely chopped
- 1⁄2 cup fresh tarragon, finely chopped
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1⁄4 tsp. saffron threads
- Grape leaves, rinsed and stem removed
- 1⁄2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1⁄4 cup sugar
Make the filling: Heat the oil in a 12-inch saucepan. Add onions, scallions, and garlic and cook until soft, about 4 minutes. Add the beef and cook until browned, another 4 minutes. Add saffron, dill, and tarragon and season with salt and pepper. Add peas and rice along with 2 cups water. Cover and cook until water is absorbed, about 35-45 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in chopped parsley and cinnamon.
Working with one leaf at a time, flatten leaf and place about 2 tablespoons rice mixture in center. Fold bottom of leaf over filling, fold in sides, and roll into tight cylinder. Lay extra leaves over bottom of a 6-quart dutch oven, and then tightly layer dolmeh, seam-side down, on top. In a small bowl, combine lemon juice and sugar, and pour over the dolmeh. Cover tightly. Cook at medium-low heat for 45 minutes. Allow to cool before serving, preferably in the fridge overnight.