Dolmades

Dolmades

Yield: 2 dozen

(Greek Stuffed Grape Leaves)

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 lbs. ground beef (uncooked)
  • 1 bunch of green onions, chopped
  • 16 oz jar of grape leaves (can find at most Persian Markets)
  • 8 oz can of tomato sauce
  • 1 egg
  • ¾ C of white long grain white rice (uncooked)
  • Salt n pepper to taste
  • 4-5 lemons (sliced)
  • 2 T Oregano
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3T Basil

Instructions

  1. Mix in a large bowl: - Meat, onions, rice, tomato sauce, egg, salt, pepper, lemon zest, garlic and Oregano. (note: some people add basil). If I have time I let this sit overnight in the fridge. But not necessary.
  2. NEXT: (ready to roll) - Boil the leaves (half the jar at a time) in a pot of boiling water with a couple table spoons of Olive oil for 45 seconds.
  3. Pull out carefully and set aside to cool a bit. I put on a plate with a few paper towels. (to help soak up water)
  4. THEN: Line the bottom of a large pot with grape leaves.
  5. Roll some of the meat mixture in a flat grape leaf vain side up.(depending on size, about 1 -2 tablespoons of meat.) Roll like a burrito pulling the sides in. Don’t roll to tightly, they need room to expand during cooking.
  6. Place each rolled leaf on the bottom of a large pot. Line rolled leaves evenly around the outside of the pot and the next row on the inside of that until the pot is filled with the first row.
  7. When you get a full layer in the pot, place sliced lemon slices on top of those grape leaves and start the second row and then third row.
  8. When you have about 3 layers. Cover last layer with lemon slices and then grape leaves. (I use the broken and defective leaves)
  9. I put small plates on top to weigh down, (2 or 3) and fill a little more than ¾ full with water. Cover with lid.
  10. Note: Do not fill pot with grape leaves and water. You will need space for overflow of water and fat from the meat. (That’s why I use lean ground beef).
  11. Cook on the Stovetop: 45 Minutes on Medium heat. I’ve always used a gas stove. Grape leaves should be done by then. Sometime the rice is a little stubborn. I put the rolled leaves in Casserole dishes with lids for a short while to help finish the rice.
  12. Some squeeze lemon juice on top when cooled. I don’t and that’s why I add the lemon zest in the recipe.
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