1/2 cup pine nuts
1 1/2 cups long grain white rice
1 medium onion, minced
1/2 cup fresh minced dill
1/4 cup fresh minced mint
6 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, divided
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1 3/4 cups vegetable broth, divided
50 large grape leaves (fresh or jarred)
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
Fresh mint leaves, lemon slices, and olives (for garnish, optional)
Lightly toast pine nuts in medium skillet until brown; reserve.
In medium pot, saute onion in 1/4 cup olive oil until brown.
Add rice and 3/4 cup vegetable broth, simmer for 10 minutes or until rice is cooked al dente and liquid is absorbed.
Do not cook rice completely to avoid mushy grape leaves.
Remove pot, add dill, mint, pine nuts, 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice and lemon zest.
Season with salt and pepper, let mixture cool to room temperature. Boil second pot of salted water, trim grape leaves by cutting stems and trimming any large veins. Place leaves in boiling water for 3-5 minutes until they soften.
Drain, cover leaves with cold water. Drain and pat leaves dry. Place shiny side of grape leaf down on flat surface.
Place 2 tablespoons of rice filling at base of leaf and fold up like a cigar. Do not roll too tightly.
Place any damaged leaves at bottom of saute pan to create bed of stuffed leaves.
Place stuffed leaves in saute pan in layers.
Pour 1 cup of broth, 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil, and 1/4 cup of fresh lemon juice.
Invert heat-safe plate on top of leaves, cover pot. Simmer gently, covered, for 30-40 minutes. Serve warm or cold.