Stuffed Grapevine Leaves

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3 tbsp. butter

1 cup finely chopped onions

cup unconverted long-grain white rice

pound lean ground lamb

1 tbsp. finely chopped coriander (cilantro)

2 tbsp. finely cut fresh dill leaves

1 tbsp. finely cut fresh mint

cup fresh peas or thoroughly defrosted frozen peas

tsp. salt

Freshly ground black pepper

28 pickled grapevine leaves

2 cups chicken stock

1 pint unflavoured yogurt

1 tbsp. cinnamon

Melt butter in skillet over moderate heat. Add the onions, lower heat and cook for 3 to 5 mins.

Bring 2 cups of water to a boil in 2 quart saucepan set over high heat. Stir in the rice, lower heat and cook uncovered for 8 minutes, then drain through a sieve.  Stir the rice, lamb, coriander, dill, mint, peas, salt and a few grindings of pepper into the onions and toss all the ingredients together lightly but thoroughly.

Bring  4 cups of water to a boil in a 2 quart saucepan and drop in the vine leaves. Boil for 3 to 4 mins, uncovered, then drain and pat the leaves thoroughly dry with paper towels.  One at a time, place the leaves rough side up on a flat surface, stem sides facing you.  Heap 2 teaspoons of filling in the center of the leaf and bring up both rounded sides so that they meet in the middle.  Beginning at the far side, roll the vine leaf into a loose cylinder, tucking in the ends as you do and allowing enough slack for the rice to expand as it cooks.

Arrange the rolls, seam-side down, in a shallow casserole just large enough to hold them in one layer.  Pack them in snugly side by side so that they retain their shape while cooking.  Pour in the chicken stock and bring to a boil over high heat.  Cover tightly and lower the heat, simmer undisturbed for about 45 mins.

Serve with a bowl of yogurt sprinkled with