If using fresh leaves, wash them thoroughly and blanch it in hot boiling water for 1 - 2 minutes for younger leaves and 3 – 4 minutes for matured leaves. Remove with a slotted spoon and transfer to a bowl with ice cold water for a minute or two then transfer to a strainer to drain water. If using leaves sold in a jar, transfer to a strainer and run cold water for a few minutes. This process will remove the salt. Brine leaves are loaded with salt. Then drain water.
Prepare the filling. Wash rice thoroughly and drain water. In a large bowl, combine ground beef, uncooked rice, onion, dill, parsley, salt and pepper. Once combined, stir-in the egg and blend well.
Lay 1 grape leaf and add 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon filling depending on the size of leaf. Do not overfill and don’t roll too tightly as rice will expand while cooking. Add the filling close to the base of leaf closer to the stem then fold the lower section over the filling then fold the two sides inward (towards center) and continue rolling like an egg roll. In a large pot, place dolmades with folded side down. Continue making all the dolmades, placing it in the pot in a row. Note: Make sure there are no torn pieces where filling can escape while cooking.
Once all the dolmades are in the pot, cover top with leftover or torn grape leaves and place a plate on top of dolmades to hold it in place while cooking. Add 3 to 4 cups of water or chicken stock enough to cover dolmades and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for 45 minutes. Cover with lid.
When done, remove grape leaves (can eat this too), plate and transfer cooked dolmades in a casserole. There will be a cup and ½ or so of liquid in the pot. This liquid will be added to the sauce.
Make Avgolemono Sauce (Egg/Lemon Sauce)
Squeeze lemon. Set aside. In a bowl, whisk eggs, then add lemon juice and flour. Mix well. Add the liquid from the dolmades stirring constantly until well combined.
In a large pot, bring the sauce to a boil stirring constanly then lower heat and season with salt and pepper. Put and arrange the dolmades in the sauce and simmer for another 8 to 10 minutes. Sauce will be thicker. Turn off heat.
Transfer dolmades in a serving plate and serve the sauce in a separate bowl or serve it with the sauce, whichever way you prefer.
If you have some small leaves, you can stack 2 or 3 together forming 1 leaf then put filling at the center and roll.
If you like it less lemony, use only the juice from 1 lemon.
For the rice, I used Arborio rice and it was delicious.