50-60 fresh grape leaves or 1 jar brined grape leaves
1-cup butter (divided into 1/2 cups)
3 large onions, minced
1 1/2 cups uncooked long grain rice
1 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1/2 cup fresh dill, chopped
1/2 cup pine nuts
1/4 cup raisins
2 tbsp. dried mint
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
Juice of two lemons


Rinse the leaves well to remove brine. Place the leaves in boiling water and boil for 3 to 5 minutes to soften them and make them more pliable. Remove them and stop the cooking in ice cold water and set aside. In a large skillet, over medium high heat, heat 1/2 cup butter. Sauté the onions until transparent, about 5 minutes. Stir in the rice, parsley, dill, pine nuts, raisins, mint, salt and pepper. Remove from heat and stir in the lemon juice. Allow the filling to cool. Line the bottom of a heavy saucepan with 2 or three grape leaves (I use the broken or torn ones for this.)

Roll the ambelofyla:
Place a leaf with the stem towards you on a flat surface. The underside of the leaf should be face up. Using the point of a sharp knife cut out the stem of the leaf. Overlap the bottom two sections of the leaf toward the center. Place a tablespoon of filling in the bottom center of the leaf, just above the stem. Fold the bottom section up to cover the filling. Fold the sides in towards the center. Continue rolling the packet up towards the top point of the leaf. Place the rolls in layers in the saucepan. Be sure to place the packets with the seam on the bottom. Pour remaining 1/2 cup butter over the ambelofyla and enough water to cover them by about 3 cm. Place an inverted heatproof plate on top of the rolls to keep them submerged in the water. Cover the saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer over low heat for 45 minutes to an hour or until the leaves are tender and the rice filling is cooked through.

healthy alternative: 

Replace butter with virgin olive oil.