(I use my fresh leaves from the garden but if you don’t have that readily available use 1 jar of grape leaves from your local store.
1 cup of rice
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 cup white onion, diced
1 cup leeks, diced
1 3/4 cup water
1/2 cup lemon juice
4 tablespoons fresh dill
1 tablespoon dried basil
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 pinch cumin
1 pinch paprika
1 tablespoon thyme honey
Salt and pepper to taste
If using store bought grape leaves, place leaves in a colander and rinse with cold water. Remove stems, and set aside. If using fresh leaves, remove stems. Rinse under cool water and blanch in boiling water. Once boiled, remove leaves from water and strain in a colander.
Prepare rice filling. In a large saucepan, add 1/3 cup of olive oil over medium heat. Place the onions and leeks in the pan. Saute until onions become translucent.
Add the rice to the pan, and pour in the water, lemon, and 1/2 cup of olive oil.
Cook for 10 minutes, until the liquid, has absorbed. Place rice in a medium bowl to cool.
Add the spices, and honey to rice mixture.
Here comes the tricky part! (Rolling the grape leaves) Place one leaf- shiny side down, and add 1 teaspoon of the rice filling at the bottom of the leaf. (I learned the hard way to not overfill the dolmades, as they will break open.)
Fold the lower part of the leaf towards the center, and over the filling. Drizzle olive oil and lemon juice on the bottom of a pot.
Bring both sides of the leaf to the center, and roll. Make sure you roll tight so when the dolmades cook, they don’t break open. Place the leaves in a pot, making sure to place leaves folded side down. When you placed all rolled leaves in the pot, drizzle again with olive oil and lemon juice. (You can use a crockpot to cook the grape leaves in.)
Place a plate on top of the dolmades to hold them down while cooking.
Simmer for 45 minutes or until the water has absorbed. Remove from the pot and let them cool.
When ready to serve, add fresh lemon juice and dill over the top. ( Serve with tzatziki dip.)
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