Wonderful little Greek Stuffed Grape Leaves!
The recipe for what the Greeks refer to as "Dolmades" is
a simple, yet intimidating, side
dish or appetizer. Possibly because many of us are
unfamiliar with eating anything made of Grape
leaves. The leaves are used as others might use seaweed
or a tortilla to wrap, however, they offer
something wonderful and
they are very easy to prepare.
I'll leave it to
your reading should you harvest your own grape
leaves. You need to remove the stem
and blanche the leaves to make them flexible. Many
advise only using young leaves for this purpose.
If you use the kind
that you can buy prepared in a bottle, the possess is
fairly easy -- assuming you
are careful in removing them from said bottle. The key
to preparing the bottled leaves is to remove the
brine solution that has worked it's way into the leaves.
Place the leaves in a bowl and pour boiling water
over them and let sit... rinse a couple more times in cold water and they
are ready. Personally, I would
leave the leaves in water until I needed them.
By the way, you
will instantly notice that one leave will not be enough,
so overlap your leaves in both
directions, place a dollop of mixture in the middle of
one side, roll and then tuck in the ends.
Many like to
prepare their rice much as in making a Paella, but there
is a far easier and yummy
alternative... use a rice maker. Seasoned with salt and saffron cooked in
In Greece, Laura
reported that many different things go into the filling
and I asked her to take some
notes. The most surprising was beef. One of the things
that must be guarded against is the dishes
prepared for 'tourists'... like 'tourist' Bobotie in Capetown, South
Africa.... a very poor substitute for
the real thing.
You can use the
same stuffing you might use for a stuffed bell pepper if
you want a little zip. However,
I stayed fairly true with only a slight variation here and there.
dill, red pepper flakes, black pepper, garlic, green
onions and sweet onion and salt
large leaf parsley
& chopped fresh dill
0ne pound of ground