¼ cup Greek olive oil
2 garlic cloves, chopped fine
2 medium onions, chopped fine
1 28-oz can of plum tomatoes
1 pinch marjoram
1 pinch cumin
salt and pepper (to taste)
4 Tablespoons of butter
1 cup raw rice
2 cups chicken stock
2 Tablespoons pignoli nuts
2 Tablespoons raisins
1¼ teaspoons coriander seeds, crushed
2 Tablespoons parsley, chopped
1 jar of grape leaves (available from major grocers)
Heat the olive oil in a casserole and add the garlic. When the garlic begins to sizzle, remove it and add all but 2 tablespoons of the chopped onions. Sauté them for 5-8 minutes. Add the tomatoes and their juice, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and cook slowly for at least an hour. Season with the cumin, marjoram, and salt and pepper to taste.
Sauté the remaining 2 tablespoons of chopped onions in a saucepan in 1 tablespoon of the butter. When the onion is soft and clear, add the rice and stir. Add the chicken stock and cover the rice with a buttered lid (wax paper works well). Cook in a preheated 350° oven for about 20 minutes. Stir 3 tablespoons of butter into the hot rice, let it melt, then cool.
Turn the rice into a large bowl, add the meat, pignoli nuts, raisins, coriander, parsley, 1 teaspoon (or to taste) of pepper and salt. Mix ingredients well.
Wash the grape leaves under very cold water and spread them on the counter. Put about one tablespoon of the meat mixture in the center of each leaf. Fold the leaf and pin together with a toothpick.
Place the rolled grape leaves in a deep baking pan and cover them with sauce. Add additional layers and more sauce as needed. Cover the pan with aluminum foil and cook for about an hour and a half in a preheated 350° oven. If the sauce dries too much, add a little water.