I have a little bit of Greek blood running through my veins, and when we have a family ‘occasion’ out come some of the old recipes. For a birthday event this past weekend I whipped up a batch of stuffed grape leaves (Dolmathes if you’re old school) for an hors d’oeuvre. They’re a little time consuming to make, but basically very simple and everyone loves them. The time is spent in stuffing and rolling the little critters. It’s a great one to make ahead since they keep and taste even better after a day in the fridge. It also doesn’t hurt to sip on a glass of wine while rolling – it takes the edge off…
This is my basic recipe. It’s taken from The Complete Greek Cookbook by Theresa Karas Yianilos. I edit a bit but stay pretty true to the original.
Stuffed Grape Leaves
- 1 jar grape leaves (or your own freshly brined if you're motivated)
- 2 Tbspns olive oil
- 1lb ground lamb or beef
- 2 onions (finely chopped)
- 1 clove garlic (minced)
- 2 Cups water
- 1/2 cup tomato sauce
- 1 cup rice
- 1 Tspn each spearmint & parsley
- 1/2 Tspn salt
- pepper (to taste)
- 1/8 Tspn cinnamon
- 2 Cups water
- 1 lemon (juiced)
While it’s a process, it’s always such a hit for parties…
If you’re reading from the recipe in the book above, I skip the currants, and nuts and add red wine instead of port if I happen to have an open bottle lying around. I also use a bit more lemon in the water that they will simmer in. I used lamb this past weekend but confess a preference for beef. The flavor is a bit more punchy. Also, I made the filling the day before and then stuffed the following morning (not with the glass of wine – just tea alas), the stuffing was then easy to handle.
I use jarred leaves normally, but since I have two grape vines thriving in my garden and crazy amounts of wild vines on our property I might have to try and brine my own next time. Jarred leaves are available at just about any grocery store but they’re also available on-line here.
And I just have to show you this…
Todays garden loot…
Thanks as always for stopping by and reading!