Prep 2 hrs
Cook 16 mins
My grandmothers recipe for "grape leaves". My daughters are usually in charge of cutting the leaves. If they help roll, we can really get the job done quickly.
- Place rice in a medium sized bowl and cover with 3 cups of cold water.
- Let stand for 30-60 minutes.
- Drain and rinse grape leaves in a colander.
- Cut leaves in half removing the thick center stem.
- Save five or six large leaves for bottom of pan- discard any extremely tough or ragged leaves.
- Drain all water from rice.
- Add lamb, salt, pepper, and cinnamon.
- Mix by hand thoroughly.
- Line bottom of large kettle or dutch oven with five or six large leaves to prevent scorching.
- Lay a leaf flat on a plate, shiny side down.
- Put approximately 1 heaping teaspoon of meat mixture towards bottom of leaf.
- Roll in one edge to seal, then roll leaf up firmly but not too tight (you need to leave a little room for the rice to expand while cooking).
- Place leaves in kettle in circular fashion leaving a small circle in the center for water to circulate.
- When you have one full row on bottom of pan, slice two cloves of garlic over the top of the leaves.
- Sprinkle with a little of the mint.
- Continue rolling the leaves and layering them with the garlic/ mint.
- You should have approximately five rows of leaves when you are done.
- Place a heatproof plate over the top of the leaves- large enough to hold them in place, but with a little room on the edges.
- Put a bowl on top of the plate filled with water to hold the plate down while cooking.
- Fill kettle with water over the top of the plate.
- Cook on top of stove on high heat until it begins to boil.
- Lower heat to medium so that water does not boil over and continue cooking.
- Total cooking time after it starts to boil is 16-19 minutes.
- Remove bowl.
- Carefully drain water from kettle.
- Remove plate.
- Arrange leaves on a platter.
- Serve with lemon wedges.
This is very similiar to what I make. My grandmother is lebanese and I grew up learning how to make all sorts of wonderful middle eastern cuisine. The only thing I do differently is use white basmati rice - I get rave reviews from suspicious eaters when I use this rice. It is very important that you rinse the leaves individually or it will come out sour. Also you can subsitute the lamb for ground beef, don't try to make it "healthier" by using lean beef or ground turkey - it won't come out right. Serve with pita bread and hummus for the full effect. Other foods that go with it are falafels and tahini. I have some middle eastern recipes listed. See my reviews for more.
Nice dolmas... I used ground beef in place of lamb, white Basmati rice, sea salt, but I was afraid to put in to measure and ended up not using enough (note here for next time), freshly ground black pepper, fresh mint, plus the rest of the ingredients. Served with thick yogurt and lemon to squeeze on top. I would make these again. Made for All Aboard the L-O-V-E train! 1/23 - 2/14