d o l m a d e s

 

I had a couple of friends over on the weekend so I planned a mediterranean ‘tapas’ evening. Handy because you can prepare most of it in advance so you can enjoy the company rather than spending the whole evening in the kitchen! On the menu I had spanish tortilla, tzatziki, chorizo & garlic prawns, crusty bread, cheeses, olives, and dolmades. And I thought i’d put the recipe for the dolmades up, as they were my first attempt, and they proved to be a popular nibble! I didn’t have a chance to take any proper photos, but I took a few briskly in a badly lit kitchen.

 

 

D O L M A D E S

1 packet vine leaves in brine

extra virgin olive oil

1 cup long grain rice

2 red onions, chopped fine

2 cloves garlic, chopped fine

1 lemon sliced

the juice of 1 lemon

3 tbsp pine nuts, toasted lightly

2 tbsp sultanas

handful of dill, chopped

handful of flat leaf parsley, chopped

maldon salt & black pepper

 

To prepare the V I N E  L E A V E S remove them from the packaging, and blanch them in boiling water for about 3 minutes. Drain, and run under cold water to prevent them from cooking further. Try not to tear them when doing this, you want the leaves in tact as much a possible, so the dolmades hold their shape and don’t lose their stuffing!

To make the S T U F F I N G heat a few tbsp of olive oil in a 20cm diameter heavy based pan (about 7-8cm deep). Gently fry the onions for about 7 minutes, until soft. Add the garlic and stir through over low heat for 1 minute. Then add the rice, and turn through well, coating in the oil. We only want to partially cook the  rice during this stage. The rice will finish cooking once wrapped inside the vine leaves. So now gradually add about 1 cup of warm water to the pan and stir it into the rice mixture, allowing it to be absorbed fully, this should take no more than 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, and remove the pan from the heat, transfer to a large mixing bowl and allow to cool for 5 or so minutes. Then add the pine-nuts, sultanas, parsley, dill, a dash of olive oil, and a bit more seasoning if needed.

To make the D O L M A D E S firstly prepare the pan. Using the same heavy based pan (but cleaned!), pour about 1-2 tbsp olive oil in the base. Then line the base with about 5 vine leaves, overlapping them so the base is completely covered. I try and use the torn/poorly shaped leaves for this bit, and save the good leaves for the dolmades! Now on a clean surface, lay out several vine leaves with the veiny side facing up, stem side closest to you, leaf tip furthest away. You then put about 1-2 heaped tsp of the filling into the centre of each leaf. Now imagine the leaf is a compass. To roll them up, fold the East and West sides over the filling, bring the base (South) of the leaf up over the filling, and roll away from you, tapering the section of the leaf that you are rolling towards so that each dolmade has a neat, tapered seam (when i make these again, i’ll take some more photos!). It’s important not to roll them TOO tightly. The rice will expand a bit when it cooks completely, so you don’t want them to burst! Put them into the pan as you go, fitting them in snugly, seam side down, until you’ve filled the base of the pan with them.

To C O O K the dolmades, place about 7 lemon slices over them in the pan, and then pour the juice of 1 lemon (about 2 Tbsp lemon juice) over them. Then pour enough water over them until it reaches about 2/3 of the way up the dolmades. I find this usually requires about 1 cup of water. Pour a dash of olive oil over them. Finally, place a circle of greaseproof paper over the dolmades, and then sit a small plate upside down, on-top of the paper. This will keep them snugly in place! Put the lid on, and place on the hob on a low heat, for about 35 minutes. Turn off the heat, and leave them in the pan with the lid on for another 30 minutes, to continue soaking up all the juices.

You can S E R V E  them warm, straight out of the pan… or alternatively leave them to cool or chill them in the fridge until you need to serve them. I prefer them cold with a bit of tzatziki to dip them in!

 

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One Response to “d o l m a d e s”

  1. Poppy French Says:

    These look lovely! I think I will attempt to make one day they look tastier than the ones in the tin. yum yum.

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