Dolmas (Stuffed Grape Leaves)
Dolmas (Stuffed Grape Leaves) as they are called around Greece and Turkey are wonderful little treats. They are a perfect appetizer/finger food or even a side dish. They are not difficult to make once you get the hang of rolling them up. Since you need to make a lot of them, it will take you a while but they are so worth it as they are absolutely delicious. Mine are made with just rice but many people make them with beef/lamb and rice or another totally vegetarian gluten free option would be to take different types of vegetables and chop them really fine and use that as the filling. To see how I made mine, keep reading.
1 cup uncooked white rice
1 cup onions, chopped finely
1/4 cup fresh dill, chopped
2 tbsp. mint leaves, chopped finely
4 cup(s) fat-free chicken broth, reduced-sodium, or vegetable broth, divided
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 16 oz. jar of vine leaves, rinsed
salt and pepper, to taste
To a non stick skillet add the oil and saute the onions over medium low heat until transparent, about 3-5 minutes. Add the dill, mint, salt and pepper and stir to combine. Saute for another minute. When done add it to the rice mixture and mix well. Make sure your rice mixture is cool enough to handle before you stuff the leaves.
Place grape leaves, shiny side down, on a flat surface. Top each leaf with 1 heaping teaspoon of rice mixture, placing filling near stem end of leaf. Fold in sides of leaf and then roll up from bottom to top. Place stuffed leaves side by side in a large stockpot, leaving no gaps (this prevents leaves from opening during cooking). The tighter you place them, the better.
Pour remaining 2 cups of broth over top of leaves. Set pan over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 1 hour and 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool at least 30 minutes before serving.
Note: Some of the leaves will be different sizes so you will have to adjust the amount of rice you put in the leaf accordingly. Also, be very careful when handling the leaves as they are delicate. Enjoy!
P.S. Another wonderful Greek dish that you will love is my Greek Salad which will go perfect with these Dolmas.