½ jar California style grape leaves (35-40)
1 ½ lbs. ground beef
½ lb. ground pork
2/3 c. rice
1 large onion, finely chopped
4 large tomatoes, blended in food processor
½ bunch Italian parsley, finely chopped
2 TBL finely chopped mint
Salt and pepper to taste
Boil grape leaves for 10 minutes to soften. Sauté onions for a few minutes. Add tomatoes, parsley, and mint and let cook for 20-30 minutes. Let the mixture cool for another 30 minutes. In a large bowl, combine meats and rice and kneed well. Season with salt and pepper. Add cooled tomato/onion mixture to meat/rice and mix well.
Open grape leaves one at a time with shining side facing down. Add 1-2 TBL of meat mixture (depending on size of leaf), and roll into a long and narrow shape. Repeat till all leaves or meat are used up.
Place in an oven-proof container (Pyrex), tightly next to each other. If needed, start a second layer of stuffed leaves on top of the first. Add ¾ cup water and olive oil and lemon to your taste. Cover with Aluminum foil. Bake on 350 F for 1 ½ hours till almost all liquid is used and rice is cooked.
For more on this weekend's Yassou Greek Cultural Festival: