How To Make Rolled Grape Leaves at Home (Dolmades)
Rolled Grape Leaves (Dolmades)
It's all Greek to Me
The practice of rolling a variety of grains and meats in vine leaves has been a tradition for thousands of years. Some insist that Dolmades were served on Mount Olympus, paired with nectar and ambrosia, for he Greek Gods.
If it's good enough for a God in any culture, it's good enough for me!
I learned to make these tasty little parcels of meat and rice many years ago. The ingredients and fillings can range from grains to meats.
This is the best way to fix them in a residential kitchen and I've served them as appetizers or a main dish. The ingredients are so simple that they even appeal to the child like palate. A simple mixture of ground meat, rice and lemon makes them delicious and filling. I made a ton of them and took them to a pot luck and one of the nurses, who was of Grecian heritage, commented that they reminded her of her childhood. The platter was clean in a matter of minutes and that is when you know you've got a hit!
California Grape Leaves
Chillax and Get Ready to Roll
These little puppies can be time consuming. While my husband took my kids to a concert, I had the house to myself. I cranked up the stereo, made a cup of coffee and sat down to take my time and prepare these stuffed Grape Leaves for my husband as a "thank you." He towed six teens to Scottrade.
In my book, I call that "taking one for the team."
My gratitude will be displayed in fresh, simmered little delicate packages of love. I know that when he walks through the door and smells the air, all thoughts of concert noise will be replaced with thoughts of a favorite snack and it's a very cold in St. Louis right now.
Do You Like Dolmades?
- 1 Jar Grape Leaves
- 1lb Ground Beef / Lamb, lean is best
- 1 Cup Rice, Long Grain
- 3 Lemons, Juiced
- 1 Tub Patience
- Combine the ground meat with the rice.
- Roll a couple tablespoons of mixture into each leaf.
- Line the bottom of a stock pot with the rolled leaves. Cover with water or chicken broth and the juice of 3 lemons. Gradually bring to a low boil, then turn heat down to simmer for about 40 minutes.
Roll 'em up!Click thumbnail to view full-size
The Cooking Technique
When it's time to cook, line the stock pot with the Dolmades, stacking them tightly on top of each other. I use a heat proof plate (Corelle) and place it on top of the rolled batch. Then I pour the lemon juice and water or broth over all, while I hold the plate in place. Next, I place a heavy small stock pot on top of the plate to hold it in place.
After the Dolmades are cooked, I carefully hold the pan and plate in place while I drain the water from the pot.
These are most delicious when eaten fresh but if you're making them to take away put them in the refrigerator. The leaves can dry out quickly at room air temperatures.
It can be time consuming to make these but just one bite, is proof that food is love.