Lebanese Stuffed Grape Leaves (Warak Enab)

  • 100-120 grape leaves 
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 500-600 grams ground beef
  • 1 teaspoon salt 
  • 2 teaspoons 7 spice 
  • 1 1/2 cups short grain white rice
  • 2 potatoes, sliced 
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic, sliced
  • 2-3 tablespoons olive oil for drizzling over the layers, or more as needed   

Pick grapes leaves in the spring, when they are bright green and fresh.

Wash and dry grape leaves, then cover with a tea towel until you’re ready to start rolling .

Heat a large pan, add vegetable oil and cook ground beef until browned. Season with salt and 7 spice. Add uncooked rice to the ground beef, then mix well. 

To stuff and roll the grape leaves, spread out a grape leaf, put a teaspoon of the uncooked rice mixture into the centre of the grape leaf, fold in the sides, then roll it up. Don’t roll them too tight or they might explode in the pot as the rice cooks and expands. Repeat with the rest of the stuffing and the grape leaves. 

Line the bottom of a large pot with potatoes and season with salt and pepper. 

Neatly arrange the stuffed and rolled grape leaves in rows, alternating directions, to completely cover the circumference of the pot. 

Drizzle each layer with olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Place a small round plate on top of grape leaves in the pot to hold them down and prevent floating while they are cooking.

Add 5-6 cups of boiling water to completely cover the grape leaves and the plate, then cover the pot and cook on medium-low for 30 minutes, or until most of the water is absorbed and the rice is cooked.

Pour the lemon juice over the grape leaves, sprinkle the sliced garlic over top, then cook on low heat for an additional 45 minutes.

Remove from heat and let cool uncovered for 30 minutes. Transfer to a dish and enjoy warm!

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