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Dolme Bargeh (stuffed Grape Leaves)

Sweet Stuffing:
1/2 c Raw rice, rinsed & drained
1 tb Yellow split peas, rinsed
1 tb Corn oil
1 md (1/2 cup) onion, chopped
1 tb Barberries (zereshk) (opt)
2 tb Dried currants
1 tb Dried lime (limoo amoni), crushed
1/4 ts Pepper
1/2 ts Salt
1/2 ts Ground cuminseed
1/2 c (3 ozs) ground lamb
Grape leaves
1 c Water
1/4 c Water, if needed

Persians stuff grape leaves in two ways: shaped standard way, like a cigar abt 3-" long & 1/2-" thick, or shaped in a rectangle and 1-1/2-" long & 1-" wide. Each should be made w/one grape leaf only (found in jars packed in California), as using more than one leaf creates a rather tough package. Following are two stuffings; one is sweet and other herbal.

1. Cook rice in water for 5 mins & yellow split peas in water for 15 mins, separately. Drain each one & put into a mixing bowl w/all other ingredients. Mix well.

2. Use abt 1 tb mixture to stuff each grape leaf in whichever style you wish, tightly folding leaf over filling. Do not overstuff since leaves may open up. Put 1 or 2 flat grape leaves in bottom of pan & arrange stuffed leaves in layers. Cover leaves w/plate that will fit into pan & hold them down. Pour in 1 c water. Cover pan, bring to a boil, & cook over low heat for 1/2 hr. If water evaporates too quickly, add 1/4 c water to prevent scorching. At end water should be completely evaporated.

Serve warm as an appetizer. Makes abt 22 of cigar-shaped leaves or 18 in rectangular shape. The stuffed leaves may be refrigerated for 2 or 3 days. They are best eaten warm & can be lightly reheated.

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