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.

Preparing Grape Leaves:

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.

Preparing the Rice

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 chicken stock.

the mixture!

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.

flavorings of: dill, red pepper flakes, black pepper, garlic, green onions and sweet onion and salt
to taste

large leaf parsley & chopped fresh dill

0ne pound of ground beef

the sauce:

Greek Yogurt



Nothing plumps up more than beautiful short grain rice
. I use Bomba or the equivalent for this purpose.


Cooking the meat.... after the onions and garlic

Combining the meat and rice mixures


rolling out the grape vines

This is a wonderful item that can be served chilled
 or at room temperature... the product is held together
better if served slightly cool.

Here we see a nice 'slice' awaiting a dab of
Greek yogurt to make it perfect!

Nothing is so surprising and yet so satisfying!