The filling is the star of this weeknight spin on dolmas with ground beef, rice, and herbs cooked in a lemony chicken broth with torn grape leaves added right in.
- 1 cup uncooked long-grain white rice
- ½ (9 ounce) jar grape leaves, drained and rinsed
- water to cover
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 6 cups chicken broth, or more as needed
- 2 ½ large lemons, juiced, divided
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- ½ cup chopped fresh parsley
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon dried mint
- 1 tablespoon dried dill weed
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch, or as needed
- Soak rice in a bowl of cool water for 15 to 30 minutes.
- Coarsely chop the grape leaves and place in fresh water to soak.
- Heat a 2- to 3-quart pan over medium-high heat. Cook and stir beef until browned and crumbly, 5 to 7 minutes. Drain and discard grease. Add broth, juice of 1 lemon, onion, parsley, olive oil, mint, dill, pepper, and salt. Drain grape leaves and add to the pan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes.
- Rinse and drain rice, then add to the pot. Bring to a simmer and cook, uncovered, until tender, 12 to 15 minutes. Gradually add more chicken broth as needed keep liquid level above the meat-rice mixture. Be careful not to overcook the rice.
- Drain cooking liquid into another pan to make the sauce. Add remaining lemon juice; season with salt and pepper. Mix in enough cornstarch until sauce resembles a medium-bodied gravy. Ladle sauce generously over the meat-rice mixture.