Stuffed Grape Leaves


  • 3 small lamb shanks, cut in half (ask the butcher to do it)
  • 1.5 pound beef round (thinly sliced beef such as carne aside – see photo at bottom of page)
  • 16 oz jar grape leaves in water, drained
  • ½ cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1.5 cups short grain white rice
  • 2.5 teaspoons allspice
  • 1.5 level kosher salt
  • A few grinds freshly cracked pepper
  • water


  • Rinse the rice until the water runs clear and drain well. Place the rice in a large bowl. Add the salt, pepper and allspice and mix well.
  • Finely chop the beef to the point where it somewhat resembles ground beef. One method to thinly slice the beef is to lay the slices on top of the other and roll them up tightly. Then, starting from the end, thinly slice the meat – this will create ribbon like pieces which can then be chopped up in the opposite direction. Another method is to freeze the meat for about 30 minutes, then lay the slices on top of the other and chop well.
  • Add the beef to the rice mixture plus about 3 tablespoons water; mix well with a fork. It should appear as pictured below.
  • Rinse the lamb shanks and place them on the bottom of a large pot. As the grape leaves are rolled, they will be placed into the pot on top of the shanks.
  • Rolling the grape leaves: Lay the grape leaves, upside down on a plate; cut off the tough stem. Add about a teaspoon of the meat and rice mixture and roll up the leaf as you would a burrito, making sure not to roll them too tightly.
  • Add the rolled grape leaves to the pot, stacking them on top of the lamb shanks in a circular pattern.
  • Add water to the pot: Bring the pot to the sink and tilt it just enough to not let all the grape leaves fall out. Slowly add water just until the water starts to pour out of the side of the pot.
  • Cook over medium/high heat until the water starts to boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for about 1.5 hours or until tender.
  • Before serving, pour lemon juice into the pot and gently swirl the pot around to incorporate the lemon juice into
  • the cooking liquid.

This is a photo of the thinly sliced beef at the butcher

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