This is one of the most classic Greek dishes. Always served at restaurants and functions. These little morsels are filled with rice, herbs, lemon... and those flavors? They literally explode in your mouth!
They can be made two ways. Either with meat or without. I made them without meat this time. Our favorite way of serving them this way is with yogurt and crusty bread... food of the God's I say!
The step-by-step video is very helpful for rolling of the dolmathakia. Nothing to be afraid of, trust me, very easy!
Prep time: 50 minutes
Cook time: 40-45 minutes
Yield: 40-50 grape leaves
1 jar grape leaves
1-1/4 cup rice (I used long grain)
1 lb of ground beef (if making the non vegetarian kind)
1/2 cup chopped green onions
2-1/2 tbsp fresh mint, chopped
1/3 cup fresh dill, chopped or 1-1/2 tsp dried dill
1/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1/3 cup olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp grated lemon zest
1 tsp salt
3/4 tsp black pepper
1-3/4 cups water
*additional water to simmer grape leaves*
-Take the grape leaves out of the jar without unfolding and rinse as best as you can. They are preserved in brine and they will be salty.
Blanche for a few minutes in boiling water. This will soften them, and also remove the remaining brine.
Rinse immediately in cold water to stop the cooking and drain. Place in a drainer with a plate to hold the excess water and set aside.
-In a large saute pan, add your olive oil, let heat. If using, add your ground beef and saute till no longer pink. Then add your onions first, saute for about 1 minute, then add your herbs, saute for another minute and then add your rice.
-Add your water and let simmer while stirring till rice is semi cooked. You do not want it crunchy still! We don't want popcorn I say!
-Add your lemon juice and then your lemon zest. Let simmer for a few more minutes. Turn off heat and let cool for a few minutes till lukewarm.
-Taking your grape leave, add about 1-1/2 tsp of rice filling and roll up like a very snug burrito. You want the role to be tight because if not then the grape leaves will unroll when being cooked. Lay on plate seam side down.
-You will find unusable grape leaves in your jar, (darn it all), set those aside you will need the later.
-After you have finished rolling all your grape leaves, line the unusable grape leaves in a medium/large Dutch oven. Line them nicely, and then in a circular motion, lay the grape leaves, seam side down in the pan. Make sure you fit them nice and snug. Do the same for your second layer etc.
-Add enough water to just cover the grape leaves, and lay a plate directly over the grape leaves. This will ensure that the grape leaves don't over expand and lose all that amazing stuffing.
-Simmer on low for 40-45 minutes till almost all the water has been absorbed and when you break into one it's just delectable and delicious and you want to eat the whole pan...
Oh wait, that's me!!
-Place on a nice platter with extra lemon wedges if so desired and serve warm or cold. These last wonderfully in the fridge for about 1 week. Don't forget the yogurt!
Oh better yet, the "avogolemono sauce", found here;
Greek egg & lemon sauce; Avogolemono
Till next time!!
Dishin with Didi