Main Course

Dolmades (Greek Stuffed Grape Leaves)

Dolmades, also known as stuffed grape leaves, are a traditional Greek dish that can be found on almost any dinner table in Greece. This dish is made by wrapping seasoned rice and ground meat in grape leaves and then baking them until they are tender and flavorful. Today, we will be making my family’s favorite dolmades recipe, which is passed down from my grandfather.

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Dolmades recipe

How To Make Dolmades

Preparing the Filling

First, we need to prepare the filling. Start by mincing 1 large sweet onion and sautéing it in 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil until it is softened and caramelized. Then, add in 3 smashed garlic cloves and 1 pound of ground lamb or beef, and mix well. Next, add 1/2 a cup of plain tomato sauce, Instead of using wine, as the original recipe calls for, we’ll be using some beef stock to give the dish an extra depth of flavor. along with fresh oregano and mint, and season with 3/4 of a teaspoon of kosher salt. Finally, add 1 and 1/2 cups of water and 1 cup of white long-grain rice, and simmer for about 12 minutes until the rice is parboiled.

Rolling the Dolmades

Once the filling is ready, it is time to roll the dolmades. Start by opening a 16-ounce jar of grape leaves in brine and soaking them in water for 10 minutes. Then, drain the grape leaves and line the bottom of a 12-inch skillet with several of them. Take a tablespoon of filling and place it in the center of a grape leaf, then roll it up, tucking the sides in as you go. Repeat this process with the remaining grape leaves and filling until you have about 70 dolmades.

Baking the Dolmades

Place the dolmades in a circular pattern in the skillet, and add in 1 lemon’s worth of juice, along with bay leaves and 2 cups of water. Top with a few more grape leaves to seal in the flavors, and then place a plate upside down on top of the dolmades to weigh them down. Cover the skillet and place it over medium heat, bringing it to a boil before reducing to a simmer for about an hour. The dolmades are ready when the liquid has reduced by about half.

Making the Lemon Sauce

Finally, we will make the lemon sauce that goes perfectly with the dolmades. In a small pot, simmer 1 cup of low-sodium chicken broth. In a separate bowl, mix together the zest and juice of 2 lemons, along with 3 large eggs and a pinch of salt, about 1/4 of a teaspoon. Slowly add in half of the simmering broth, whisking vigorously, before returning the mixture to the pot and stirring for about 7 minutes until the sauce thickens. Strain the sauce through a sieve to remove any egg bits or zest.

Enjoying the Dolmades

Once the dolmades are done, serve them with the lemon sauce on top for a perfect balance of flavors. These dolmades are a delicious and traditional Greek dish that can be enjoyed by anyone.

Required Kitchen Tools and Equipment:

  • Large skillet
  • Grater or rasp
  • Knife
  • Cutting board
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Large pot
  • Whisk
  • Sieve

Tips and Variations:

  • Vegetarian Version: Replace ground lamb with minced mushrooms.
  • Substitute ground beef or turkey for ground lamb.
  • Add pine nuts or raisins to the filling for extra texture and sweetness.
  • Serve with a side of tzatziki or hummus for dipping.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: What are dolmades?

A: Dolmades are stuffed grape leaves, traditionally filled with a mixture of ground lamb or beef, rice, herbs, and spices.

Q: Can I use fresh grape leaves instead of jarred?

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A: Yes, but fresh grape leaves need to be blanched before using to remove any bitterness.

Q: Can I freeze dolmades?

A: Yes, you can freeze dolmades before or after cooking. Place them in a single layer on a baking sheet and freeze until solid, then transfer to a freezer-safe container.

Q: How long do dolmades last in the refrigerator?

A: Dolmades can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

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How to Make Dolmades

Dolmades Recipe


  • Author: Howard Land
  • Total Time: 1 hour and 30 minutes

Description

Savor the taste of Greece with these traditional dolmades, stuffed with seasoned meat, rice, and herbs, baked until tender, and served with a tangy lemon sauce. This authentic recipe will transport you to the sunny Mediterranean with each bite.


Ingredients

Scale

1 large sweet onion, minced

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

3 cloves garlic, smashed

1 pound ground lamb or beef

1/2 cup plain tomato sauce

1 teaspoon fresh oregano, chopped

1 teaspoon fresh mint, chopped

3/4 of a teaspoon of kosher salt

1 1/2 cups water

1 cup white long-grain rice

16-ounce jar grape leaves in brine

1 lemon

2 bay leaves

2 cups water

For the Lemon Sauce:

1 cup low-sodium chicken broth

Zest and juice of 2 lemons

3 large eggs

1/4 of a teaspoon of salt


Instructions

In a large skillet, sauté minced sweet onion in 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil until softened and caramelized.

Add smashed garlic cloves and ground lamb or beef to the skillet, and mix well.

Add plain tomato sauce, fresh oregano, and mint, and season with kosher salt.

Add 1 and 1/2 cups of water and 1 cup of white long-grain rice to the skillet and simmer for about 12 minutes until the rice is parboiled.

Open a 16-ounce jar of grape leaves in brine and soak them in water for 10 minutes.

Drain the grape leaves and line the bottom of a 12-inch skillet with several of them.

Take a tablespoon of filling and place it in the center of a grape leaf, then roll it up, tucking the sides in as you go.

Repeat this process with the remaining grape leaves and filling until you have about 70 dolmades.

Place the dolmades in a circular pattern in the skillet, and add in 1 lemon’s worth of juice, along with bay leaves and 2 cups of water.

Top with a few more grape leaves to seal in the flavors, and then place a plate upside down on top of the dolmades to weigh them down.

Cover the skillet and place it over medium heat, bringing it to a boil before reducing to a simmer for about an hour. The dolmades are ready when the liquid has reduced by about half.

In a small pot, simmer 1 cup of low-sodium chicken broth.

In a separate bowl, mix together the zest and juice of 2 lemons, along with 3 large eggs and a pinch of salt.

Slowly add in half of the simmering broth, whisking vigorously, before returning the mixture to the pot and stirring for about 7 minutes until the sauce thickens.

Strain the sauce through a sieve to remove any egg bits or zest.

Once the dolmades are done, serve them with the lemon sauce on top for a perfect balance of flavors.

  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Category: Main Course
  • Cuisine: Greek

Nutrition

  • Calories: 105
  • Sugar: 2g
  • Sodium: 173mg
  • Fat: 5g
  • Saturated Fat: 1g
  • Protein: 7g
  • Cholesterol: 35mg

Keywords: dolmades, stuffed grape leaves, Greek cuisine, traditional recipe, ground meat, rice, lemon sauce, herbs, Mediterranean flavor

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