Dolmades are fragrant grape leaves stuffed with rice and aromatic herbs and can also include ground beef, pork or lamb. In this recipe I incorporate ground beef to the filling. Dolmades are usually accompanied by an avgolemono or tomato sauce and can be eaten warm or at room temperature. Jarred grape leaves are available in many grocery stores and Greek markets. If using fresh grape leaves, remember to remove the stems and to boil them for approx. 2-3 minutes to soften them.
- approx. 50 grape leaves, rinsed and drained
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 cup long grain, parboiled rice, washed well
- 1 large onion, pureed
- 4 cloves of garlic, pureed or minced
- 1/2 cup fresh mint, chopped
- 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
- 1/2 cup fresh dill, chopped
- salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 litre chicken stock
- 3 eggs, at room temperature
- juice from 2 lemons
In a large bowl mix the rice, beef, onion, garlic, herbs, salt and pepper. To stuff and roll the grape leaves, lay grape leaves vein side up. Spoon approx. 1 teaspoon of the mixture onto the bottom centre of the leaf. Fold the bottom of the leaf over the filling, then fold each side inward in parallel folds. Then roll up the leaf. Assemble the dolmades in tight layers side by side, seam side down in a pot. Pour chicken broth over dolmades as well as olive oil. Place a round heatproof plate face down into the pot over the dolmades to keep them submerged in the liquid and to keep them from shifting and unrolling. Place lid on pot and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for 45 minutes.
Preparing The Avgolemono Sauce
Whisk eggs in a medium size bowl until frothy and then whisk in the lemon. Pour out 1 cup of liquid from pot and slowly ladle it into the egg lemon mixture to temper the eggs, whisking vigorously. Remove plate from pot. Pour sauce into the pot and gently shake the pot to stir. Cook over very low heat to thicken sauce.