Dolmades are grape leaves that are stuffed with various ingredients. I had never eaten grape leaves before and the idea of stuffing them with a tasty filling sounded really good. I have been wanting to try making them ever since I saw Peter's dolmades post. I recently came across a jar of grape leaves and the dolmades quickly made it to my meal plan.
I had a bit of trouble getting the grape leaves out of the jar as they were packed in so tightly but after that they were fairly easy to work with. I covered the grape leaves in boiling water to make sure that they were tender. (You could also boil them briefly.) I also rinsed them a few times to remove any salt from the packing liquid. The grape leaves that I got had their stems removed so that was one less step that I had to do.
Overall the dolmades were pretty easy to make though it took a bit of time to stuff all of them. They turned out pretty well. One of the reasons that I really enjoy Greek cuisine is because it commonly includes lots of mint and dill which are two of my favorite herbs. With the herbs, feta and avgolemono sauce the dolmades were really tasty! The grape leaves themselves were nice and I look forward to using them again.
Dolmades (Stuffed Grape Leaves)
- 1 jar grape leaves
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 onion (chopped)
- 2 cloves garlic (chopped)
- 1 pound lean ground beef (or lamb)
- 1/2 cup Arborio rice
- 1/4 cup tomato puree
- 1/2 cup feta (crumbled)
- 1 lemon (zest)
- 1 bunch of green onions (sliced)
- 1/4 cup dill (chopped)
- 1/4 cup mint (chopped)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- * chicken stock
- 2 eggs
- 1 lemon (juice)
- Separate the grape leaves and place them in a large bowl.
- Cover the grape leaves in boiling water and let soak for 20 minutes.
- Drain the water and rinse the leaves a few times.
- Heat the oil in a pan.
- Add the onion and saute until tender, about 5-7 minutes.
- Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute.
- Mix the onions, garlic, ground beef, rice, tomato puree, feta, lemon zest, green onions, dill, mint salt and pepper in a large bowl.
- Place a grape leaf on a flat surface with the vein side up.
- Place a tablespoon of filling in the middle of the leaf and fold the sides over the filling and roll the leaf up. (See Peter's post for some good step by step photos showing how to fold the grape leaves.) Repeat until all of the filling is used up.
- Place stuffed grape leaves into a baking dish in layers and just cover with chicken stock.
- Bake in a 375F oven for about 1 hour.
- Whisk the eggs in bowl over a small pan of simmering water until frothy, about 3 minutes.
- Slowly pour in the lemon juice while whisking.
- Add some of the liquid from the baking dish and continue whisking until it thickens.
- Mix most of the avgolemeno sauce into the dish with the dolmades reserving some for garnish.
- Serve the dolmades garnished with the reserved avgolemeno sauce and some chopped dill and or mint.