"Dolmathakia Avgolemono" Meat Stuffed Grape Leave
Try making them with blanched cabbage or lettuce. They are time and labor-intensive, so the recipe is for a pretty large quantity. I promise you the end results are well worth your time and effort. Hope you enjoy these as much as we do!
Kali Orexi! Have a good Appetite!
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- fresh grape leaves blanched or 1 jar of large grape leaves in brine, very well washed to remove salt.
- 2 lb
- ground beef, pork, lamb or mixture of 1-2 or all 3 meats. mixture of meats makes the filling more tender.
- 1 c
- of uncooked short-grain rice
- medium-large onions, finely chopped
- 1/2 c
- olive oil
- 1/2 c
- finely chopped parsley
- 1/2 c
- finely chopped dill or mint
- 1/2 c
- juice of 3 lemons
- 1/2 tsp
- 1 tsp
- sea salt
- 2 c
1If using fresh grape leaves, wash and blanch them by dipping in boiling water for 3-5 minutes, depending on thickness of leaves. Remove leaves and place them in a bowl and cover with cold water to cool. Cut off the stems.
If using bottled or canned wash thoroughly to remove salt. If you feel they are not tender enough, they also can be blanched for about 3 minutes.
2To prepare filling, soak the rice for 10 minutes in hot water and drain. In a bowl, combine ground beef, rice, onions, olive oil, parsley, dill or mint, juice of 1 lemon, 1/2 tsp salt and pepper. Mix well by hand.
3To stuff the leaves , place a teaspoon of stuffing on the non-shiny surface of each grape leaf at the point where the stem was. Fold up the bottom of the leaf over the filling, then each side inward and roll up loosely but firm to give mixture room to expand while cooking. Repeat until all the filling has been used.
4Line the bottom of a heavy-bottomed pot with broken or unused leaves. Place the dolmathakia on top, packing them closely together (not squashed), seam side down, so they don't unroll while cooking. Layer them all in the pot (I usually get 2-3 layers). Place several unused leaves on the top. Weigh down the dolmathakia by placing a heavy plate upside down on top of the dolmathakia.
Add 2 cups of water to the pot and cover. Bring the water to a gentle boil. Add the remaining lemon juice, remaining salt, pepper and olive oil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for approximately 50-70 minutes. Check to see if done. If the rice has cooked, they are done. If not, continue cooking for another 10 minutes and check again. Cooking time differs on type of pot used and the stovetop element.
5Avgolemono: Traditional Greek Egg-Lemon Sauce
This creamy sauce works wonderfully with most vegetable dishes - casserole and steamed - and is a favorite with stuffed cabbage. Use it to give a special touch to leftovers containing ground meat, rice, or vegetables where the lemon taste will blend.
2-3 eggs, separated
juice of 2-3 lemons
broth from the dish being cooked
With a fork beat eggs both yolks and whites), slowly add the lemon juice. While beating or whisking continuously, slowly add 2-3 ladlesful of broth.
Add the avgolemono sauce on the dolmathakia- in the pot and shake the pot in a circular way so the sauce covers all the dolmathakia. Don't stir with fork or spoon cause the dolmathakia will break. Cover with a towel for 10 minutes and then serve.
Individual servings of dolmathakia are 4-5 pieces on small plates as an appetizer, however they can also be used as a side or main dish.
These will keep well in the refrigerator for several days. Return to room temperature before serving. Drizzle olive oil on top and cover to store. These can also be frozen. If you do freeze, reheat in the microwave or by steaming and serve warm. Don't just thaw and eat. It is always best to make the Egg Lemon Sauce fresh.
With any leftover filling you can stuff vegetables like tomatoes, peppers, zucchini and eggplant.
To make as a main course, use larger grape leaves and increase the amount of filling to 1 Tbsp on each leaf.