Garlicky Yogurt Sauce:
1 cup plain yogurt, mixed with 2-3 gloves peeled and crushed garlic
1. To prepare the filling, in a mixing bowl combine meat, onion, rice, fresh herbs, salt (add less if you are going to use salted canned leaves) and pepper and knead thoroughly.
2. If using fresh grape leaves, blanch them in small batches (about 10 at a time) in a pot with boiling water for 2 minutes. This will soften the leaves and make it easer to roll them and faster to cook. Remove the leaves with a slotted spoon and drain. Cut off the stems or any hard veins. If using canned leaves, put them in batches in colander and place the colander under a sink, then rinse the leaves under cold water and drain. Cut off the stems. If using medium or large leaves, cut them in half. If there are any torn or damaged leaves, do not discard - use them to patch holes in other leaves. NOTE: If canned leaves are too thick, blanch them in boiling water for about a minute, then drain and proceed as directed in the recipe.
3. Hold a grape leaf shiny side down on the palm of your left hand, and place 1 or 2 teaspoons of the filling at the stalk end of the leaf. With your right hand, fold top, then the sides over the filling and roll up tightly.
4. Arrange the stuffed grape leaves close together seam side down in a medium non-stick pan, making several layers. If using fresh grape leaves, sprinkle a little salt in between each layer.
5. Pour butter over the grape leaves and add water. Place a small lid or a small ovenproof plate on top to keep dolmas tight and to prevent them from opening. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium to low and simmer for 1 hour 30 minutes, or until the leaves are tender and the filling is cooked. There should be little liquid left, reduced to the oily consistency.
6. Serve hot with garlic-yogurt sauce scooped on top, fresh salad or pickles and bread!