Stuffed Vine Leaves

Posted by: Lisa UK 07-08-99 3:23 PM

Stuffed Vine Leaves (Dolmades)

3-4 dozen vine leaves or 1 savoy cabbage
1/4 pint olive oil, divided
6 or 8 scallions/spring onions or 1 large onion, chopped fine
2 lb finely minced veal/lamb
1 tsp. cinnamon , or to taste
salt and pepper
3-4 oz of rice
3/4 pint water or stock
1/2 tsp chopped mint
1 tsp chopped parsley
juice of 2 large lemons

Blanch fresh vine leaves or cabbage leaves in boiling water drain then leave to cool. If using leaves in brine just rinse the excess brine off and pat dry.

Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a heavy saucepan and sauté the onions over a low heat until soft, about 8 minutes. Add the meat, raise the heat and sauté until lightly browned, breaking up any pieces with a wooden spoon. Add the cinnamon, salt, pepper and rice and cook for one minute stirring. Add the stock/water and boil uncovered for about 8 minutes or until all the liquid has disappeared and there are holes appearing in the rice. Cover the pan with two layers of paper towels and a tight fitting lid. Set aside for 20-25 minutes in a warm place.

Line a large saucepan with any pieces or torn leaves and some whole leaves to cover any gaps. Stir the parsley and the mint in with the rice and half the lemon juice and mix well.

The making of the dolmades:
Place a whole leaf glossy side down on a clean work surface stem towards your wrist. Use a heaped tablespoon of filling for a main course dolmades. Place the filling in the centre of the leaf at its widest part, pull the stem end over and fold in both sides. Firmly roll up the leaf towards the point end of the leaf. Repeat until all leaves are used up.

As you finish each dolma place them tightly side by side in the pan. Pour over the remaining olive oil and the rest of the lemon juice. Add enough water to come almost to the top of the dolmas. Cover with a plate smaller than the saucepan and put a weight on top to hold them in place. Bring to the boil then simmer on a low heat for about 30 minutes for large dolmas. Take off the heat, leave the plate in place and let them cool.

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