Dolmathes (Stuffed Grape Leaves)

posted by SueFreeman 05-09-101 10:32 PM

Recipes by chef..... Heather Nicolozakes
Dolmathes Stuffed Grape Leaves

1 lb jar grape leaves (preferrably from California, they are larger and have less holes in them)
4 1/2 lb ground round steak
1 1/2 cups rice
3 medium onions, chopped (1 1/3 cups)
1/2 cup fresh chopped parsely
1/2 cup chopped mint
2 tsp salt
pepper to taste
3 T butter
1 T fresh oregano
2 T wine vinegar
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup veggie oil
2 (13 3/4 oz) cans chicken broth

Remove grape leaves from jar. There is no easy way to do it, just drain and grab and twist gently and pull hard to get out. Place in boiling water for 1 minute and drain and set aside. Remove stems from all leaves using scissors or knife. Sort the leaves, larger ones in one stack, smaller ones in a stack and unuseable ones in another stack. You will use those unuseable (torn or irregular ones) to line the bottom of the pan and top of the rolled leaves.

Now you can do this two ways. The Greeks cook the meat half way and the rice half way and them mix the rest of the ingredients for stuffing. This makes a loose and fluffier filling but if you are new to rolling (and not so new to rolling) grape leaves it can be very difficult and messy. Or you can mix everything raw and stuff it that way in a neat little clump. It takes longer to cook this way and it is a denser filling but the taste is the same.

Cook meat and onion and rice in separate pans til half done and drain. Mix together with parsley, mint, salt, pepper, butter and oregano.

Smooth out one large or two smaller leaves and take one T of filling and place it in the center making sure the shiny side of the leaf is facing down with the vein side up facing you. The point side is facing away from you with the top part of the leaf closer to you. Fold down right side of top part of leaf over the mixture. Fold down the left side and tuck under the top part. Now bring in both sides and roll straight down. You will be tucking and rolling all the way with the looser filling.

Now line bottom of pan with discarded leaves that were broken or torn or not useable. The leaves will sometimes stick to the bottom of the pot so this helps keep the integrity of the rolls. Carefully arrange the rolls, seam side down in pan. Make a center row and then fill in sides going outwards. You can have two rows...without extra leaves in between the layers.

Mix the lemon juice and vegetable oil together and sprinkle over each row as you are progressing. When all rolls are in pot, layer with a top layer of leaves covering completely. Add chicken broth and any remaining veggie oil and lemon juice. Place a heavy plate or a glass lid on top to hold them down and in place and simmer for 30 minutes.

If putting in raw meat and raw rice you might have to add an additional 15 minutes. Grape leaves are tougher than cabbage and moisture is harder to get in.

If you want to freeze these, cook completely and then cool and freeze in one clump and not individually.

They are better reheated and served the next day, but they were pretty darned good right away too.

When freezing, thaw out and spray with more lemon juice and veggie oil and then cook in chicken broth again until heated through. (or use micro).

Egg Lemon Sauce for Grape Leaves:
3 eggs
1 lemon squeezed
6 T liquid from grape leaves pot.

Beat eggs slightly and add lemon juice. Beat well. Pour into this sauce the hot liquid from the grape leaves one T at a time beating constantly while adding. Pour over Hot stuffed grape leaves and serve immediately while hot.

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