Stuffed Grape Leaves

Preparation time: 45 minutes plus soaking time

Cooking time: 1 hour

Serves: 8-10

If using fresh leaves, bring a pan of salted water to a boil, add the leaves, and blanch for 3 minutes. Remove from the pan and put them on a wire rack to cool. If using leaves preserved in brine, soak them in hot water for 30 minutes, then drain, rinse thoroughly, and pat dry with paper towels. Mix together all the other ingredients, except the olive oil, in a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Lay 1 grape (vine) leaf flat on a work surface, put a spoonful of the filling on top, and carefully roll up the leaf into a cigar shape. Repeat with the remaining leaves and filling until 40 leaves have been used. Put the remaining leaves in the bottom of a large pan and put the grape leaf rolls on top. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Position a plate snugly on top of the leaves and pour in enough boiling water to cover. Bring back to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 50 – 60 minutes. Carefully lift out the grape leaf rolls with a slotted spoon and serve warm.