Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Dolmas (Stuffed Grape Leaves)
After trying a few store bought dolmas I decided to make my own to be able to make the 'stuffing' to suit my tastes. I love mediterranean food, it is tasty and healthy. This recipe is very easy if you use jarred grape leaves but if you can find fresh grape leaves all you need to do is blanche them a few minutes until tender, drain and continue with the recipe. These are great little appetizers, a perfect blend of sweet and tart.
8 ounces grape leaves, in brine (about 40-45 leaves)
1/2 cup olive oil, divided
1/2 cup onion
6 TBSP dried cranberries, roughly chopped
1 large tomato, peeld, seeded and chopped
2 cups cooked rice
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp cinamon
zest of 1 lemon
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/3 cup fresh mint, chopped
1/2 cup lemon juice
2 cups hot water
1. Start by draining the grape leaves and placing them in a large heat-proof bowl. Pour just enough boiling water over the leaves to cover and let them soak for about 20 minutes. Drain
2. Heat 1/4 cup of the olive oil in a medium skillet. Add the onions and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat and add the cranberries, tomato, rice, mint, lemon zest, sugar, cinnamon, remaining olive oil and salt to taste. Mix thoroughly, making sure the rice is well-coated with oil.
Assembling the Dolmas:
To stuff the grape leaves, spread out one grape leaf in front of you, vein side up and stem end toward you. Place about 2 TBSP of the rice mixture in the center, fold stem end over the filling, bring the sides of the leaf toward the center and roll tightly, forming a cylinder. Repeat until all the filling is used.
Place the Dolmas close together and seam side down in a large skillet, in a single layer, if possible. If not, separate the layers with extra grape leaves.
Drizzle the lemon juice and an extra 1/4 cup olive oil over the Dolmas and add boiling water to cover. Cover the pan and simmer for 30 minutes. Let the dolmas cool in the liquid, then transfer them to a serving platter.
Serve at room temperature with extra lemons.
Makes 40 to 45 appetizers.