Serves: 9 -10 appetizers or 4 -5 entrees





¾ cup brown rice


½ pound twice ground lamb


1/4 cup olive oil


1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt


2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint


2 tablespoons dried currants


2 tablespoons slivered almonds


1 teaspoon ground black pepper


1/2 teaspoon ground cumin


1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon


1/4 teaspoon dried oregano


30-35 grape leaves, approximately 1/4 pound



Chef’s Note: Cabbage leaves may be substituted for the grape leaves. Use a small cabbage. The cabbage leaves should be prepared by coring the cabbage and carefully removing the leaves so that they remain whole. Place the cabbage leaves in boiling water for approximately 5 minutes, or until they are pliable and easy to fold. Continue with the recipe, substituting “cabbage” for “grape” throughout.



1 tablespoon olive oil


2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice


4 cups hot chicken or lamb broth


1 tablespoon olive oil


4 large cloves of garlic, or their equivalent, peeled and sliced lengthwise in thirds


1 large lemon, washed and sliced. Leave the peel on the slices.


1 cyo lemon sauce






Place rice and 1½ cups cold water in a 2 quart saucepan. Cover. Bring to a boil.


Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.


Remove saucepan from heat. Place a paper towel between the lid and the saucepan and allow to rest for 20 minutes.


Combine lamb, salt, currents, almonds, mint, black pepper, cumin, cinnamon, and oregano in a bowl.


When rice is done, add to the spiced lamb mixture.


Grind lamb and rice.


Add ¼ cup olive oil and lemon juice to the ground spiced lamb and rice.


Lay a piece of parchment in the bottom of a baking dish.


Carefully lay a grape leaf on a cutting board, rib side up. Be careful not to tear or make any holes in the leaf.


Place approximately 1 tablespoon of the ground mixture slightly above the place where the stem would normally connect to the leaf.


Fold the left and right side of the leaf below the ground mixture up over the mixture.


Roll the part of the leaf with mixture up slightly.


Fold the left and right sides of the main part of the leaf over the part of the leaf containing the mixture and the leaf above the mixture, to form separate straight left and straight right sides.


Roll the leaf up to create a packet. The top of the grape leaf should form a closing similar to that of an envelope over the packet (tolma).


Continue to make tolmas until all the ground mixture has been used.




Chef’s Note: A tablespoon of the spiced ground lamb and rice mixture is suggested for a large grape leaf. Judgement must be used in the amount used for smaller leaves. The ground mixture should all be contained securely within each tolma.




Set each tolma in the baking dish, not touching the one next to it.


As a layer is completed, place another sheet of parchment paper over the top and continue to add tolmas until the process is completed.




Chef’s Note: If covered with parchment paper, the tolmas may be chilled overnight and the process continued the next day.




Brush 1 tablespoon of olive oil over the bottom of a large skillet with lid.


Line the bottom of the skillet with grape leaves.


Bring 4 cups of chicken broth to a boil.


Place the tolma on top of the layer of grape leaves in the bottom of the skillet.




Chef’s Note: Do not crowd the tolma. They should not touch each other. Depending on the size of the skillet, iIt may be necessary to cook two batches, Start with a clean skillet for each batch.  If two batches are required, divide the garlic and lemon slices accordingly.




Scatter garlic slices over the top of the tolmas.


Lay the lemon slices evenly around the top of the tolmas.


Place the skillet over medium-high heat and add the boiling chicken broth.


Simmer the tolmas for 15 minutes, uncovered.


Cover the tolmas and simmer 20-30 minutes or until the grape leaves are tender.


Carefully remove each tolma with a slotted spoon and place in a clean baking dish.


Allow to cool for at least 20 minutes.


Serve warm or at room temperature with lemon sauce.