Along the Grapevine

Dolmas with Rice and Meat

69 Comments

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This week I have the privilege of co-hosting Angie’s Fiesta Friday along with Indu of Indu’s International Kitchen and Selma of Selma’s Table. This is the 24th such event, and if you haven’t attended or participated yet, you should check it out. I have come to rely on these gatherings for inspiration and great recipe ideas, and I am sure this week will be no exception.

With all the fresh, organic and free for the picking grape leaves just right for harvesting at this time, I decided to bring some along to the party. Last year at this time I made a vegetarian version of dolmas, or stuffed grape leaves, with chick peas and rice cooked in a slow cooker. For the sake of variation, I made for the first time a meat version for my omnivore house guests, and instead of a slow cooker used my ‘old’ method which requires no special equipment.

First, I picked a bag of leaves – about 4 dozen – choosing good sized ones but still young and unblemished. I blanched them for a few seconds in boiling water, drained and stacked them. At this point, you can freeze them to be used later.

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To form the dolmas, place one leaf at a time vein-side up and remove any stem.

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Take a spoonful of filling and place it at the base and in the centre of the leaf.

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Lift the sides and bottom of the leaf around the filling and fold the edges over the centre.

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Roll upwards making a nice neat package. Repeat this with the rest of the leaves.

Line the bottom of a large saucepan with clean, sliced raw potatoes. This will prevent the dolmas from burning or sticking to the pan. It will also leave you with some delicious potatoes to serve with or as a side dish for another meal. Place the dolmas on top of the potatoes, close together and in layers. Pour cold water over them until it just barely covers the dolmas.

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Place a heat proof lid or plate smaller than the circumference of the pan but large enough to weigh down all the dolmas so they are submerged. I used a stone cutting board.

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Bring to a boil, turn down the heat to a medium and allow to simmer until all the water has been absorbed. You can tell when the water is almost used up by the sound, but to be sure I just tilted the pan a little to see how much there was. The total cooking time was about 3 1/2 hours.

They can be served immediately, kept in the fridge for a few days or frozen.

Dolmas with Meat and Rice

  • Servings: 48 pieces
  • Time: 4 hours
  • Print

1 lb lean ground beef or lamb

1 onion, chopped

1 Tbsp sumac (optional)

2 tsp cumin

1 cup long grain rice

1/2 cup olive oil

juice of 1/2 lemon

1 cup loosely packed mint leaves, chopped

salt and pepper to taste

2 or three potatoes, sliced

48 blanched grape leaves

Mix all the ingredients except the potatoes. Stuff the leaves as illustrated above. Place them in a pan previously lined with potato slices. Add water to barely cover. Place a weight, such as a heat-proof plate or lid on top. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium and allow to cook until all the liquid has been absorbed. Arrange in a serving dish and garnish with slices of lemon or pickled onions.

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Author: Hilda

I am a backyard forager who likes to share recipes using the wild edibles of our area.

69 thoughts on “Dolmas with Rice and Meat

  1. Pingback: Fiesta Friday #24 | The Novice Gardener

  2. Hello, Hilda! Happy co-hosting to you again. 🙂 These Dolmas look so good. I heard, some are using bottled grapevine leaves. But I bet freshly picked leaves are better. Thank you for bringing these to FF24. 😀

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    • Thanks Jhuls. For those who don’t have access to clean fresh grape leaves, the bottled kind are fine. They usually have to be rinsed off first so as not to be too salty – but still good.
      Happy Fiesta Friday.

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  3. These look so good. We tried using our own leaves one time for this, but we left it a bit late into the season and found things were a bit chewy :-(. We do mean to try again one day, but it’s so hard to remember to pick those leaves in time.

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  4. Fresh grape leaves!?!? I’m impressed!! Dolmas are my Mom’s favorite- I’ve only made them once- filled with rice- and with jarred leaves. Yours look perfect!

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  5. Pingback: Quick Brown Butter and Creme Fraiche Cake with Cocoa Nibs | Selma's Table

  6. wow!!! looks delicious! thanks for sharing! happy fiesta friday!
    Simi

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  7. Dolmas are great! Thanks for sharing!

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  8. I love the potato slice trick!

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  9. Thanks Noony. I use the them for all such dishes, and it is one of the best ways I know to cook potatoes. They take on flavour of the mint and oil and other seasonings and I always wish I had used more.

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  10. Thank you for co-hosting this week! I absolutely love Fiesta Fridays! Thanks for sharing the “no special equipment version.” And, of course, have a wonderful weekend. 🙂

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    • Thanks Kaila. I’m glad you enjoy Fiesta Fridays too. I always meet so many interesting bloggers and find so many good recipe I want to try. You have a good weekend too.

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  11. Thanks for indulging your carnivore readers 😉 I’ve never had grape leaves, but I’ve always wanted to try! I can just imagine how good these would be with lamb. And it looks so easy!

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    • Thanks for the comment. I agree lamb would be my first choice, but I had beef available so that’s what I used. I hesitated to put all that mint in it, but it actually worked very well together, so I learned something.

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  12. This recipe looks wonderful! I have never worked with grape leaves, very impressive. Thanks for co-hosting this week, happy Fiesta Friday! 🙂

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  13. 😊Wow.. Looks so yummy😃!
    I haven’t yet tried this!! Thanks for co-hosting the big 1 party..
    Happy FF😊

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  14. So glad you brought these! I’d forgotten I wanted to try your veggie recipe while my grapevines are growing. And anything that involves lining a tray with potatoes perks my ears up 🙂

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  15. Awesome!! These look fantastic, I love eating them, but have never tried making them.

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  16. I remember making this with Turkish flat mate when I was at uni once. I never tried to make them again since, but I’d love to try again now. Thanks for co-hosting FF24!

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  17. Hi Hilda! Co-host here!! I am so impressed with the fact that you can just pick your leaves – how wonderful! This looks like a really easy and tasty recipe so I have bookmarked it to try in the not too distant future though it would be with bottled leaves…

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    • Thanks Selma. Bottled is good too – hope you do try it and like it. I look forward to the next few days co-hosting with you and Indu – should be fun.

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  18. Yum, Hilda! Dolmas are the first thing that goes at the table. I can half of that dish all by myself. Very nice recipe. 🙂

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  20. I love any kind of Dolma and your Dolma looks delicious with the addition of sumac. Thanks for co-hosting FF!

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  21. I have bookmarked the vegetarian dolmas to try out sometime. Thanks for sharing this at the fiesta!

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  22. Hilda, these look so amazing. I have never had them, and I’m always so fascinated when I see them posted somewhere. I read and re-read your instructions, wondering if this is something that I could actually do! I know this is a silly question…but the grape leaves… like, if I went to a vineyard and asked them if I could buy grape leaves? Awesome post. I really want to try this.. ❤

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    • Prudy, I can guarantee that you can do these. They are not difficult, and so handy because you can make a batch and freeze them for a rainy, or busy day. I think most people growing grapes could spare a few leaves. I know a lot of people in Toronto have grape vines growing for the grapes and to make shade, but I don’t know anyone who actually uses the leaves – so if you are lucky you can just find a friend or neighbour who has grapevines. Hope you find some and enjoy them.

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  23. These look really amazing Hilda. Where can I buy grape leaves? Both your versions look tempting…I might try the vegetarian one first! thanks for bringing these to FF #24. 🙂

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    • Thanks. You can prepare either recipe either way. I think I prefer them with the potatoes in a regular pan, but of course that takes a little more attention. And don’t forget lots of mint. Hope if you try them you enjoy them.

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  24. What a neat recipe Hilda! I have never heard of dolmas! Thanks again for co-hosting! Fun to have you do that!

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    • Thanks for the comment and for visiting my post. It is my pleasure to co-host the party this week. I am learning so much and meeting so many wonderful bloggers.

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  25. I love dolmas! I took a cooking class when we were in turkey on how to make dolmas but unfortunately I haven’t tried making them at home… Looks delicious!

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    • Hope you decide to make them. Whatever recipe you use, I think the mint is what makes the super delicious, but there are lots of variations out there worth trying.

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  26. My family enjoys these and so far I have only bought them at Whole Foods – maybe it is time to make my own 🙂

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  27. Thanks for posting the recipe, Hilda! I’ve always just enjoyed them, never made them. Now I know what recipe to use!

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  28. Yum! These wouldn’t last long in my place, trust me! 😀

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  29. I love Dolmas–these look so delicious!

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  30. Hi Hilda 🙂 Joining a bit late. But I couldn’t miss on this one. Happy FF 24. This is a nice recipe you shared. Looks fresh and healthy.

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  31. I was so fascinated by your recipe, never knew Grape leaf can be use to wrap up food.
    Thanks for Co-hosting and for bringing Dolmas to the party. Happy Fiesta Friday, Hilda!

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  32. Now this is a dish that I have never cooked but have been dying to try. Love your recipe – this one is certainly going onto the to-cook list!

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  33. What a lovely & beautiful recipe you have here. It looks so elegant I can hardly wait to try my hands on it. Thank you so much for sharing, Hilda 🙂

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  34. Fiesta Friday is the best! You get to see such inventive things like dolma’s. Absolutely wonderful!

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  35. I have tried it out many times , but never tried to recreate it at home. Looks very easy!

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  36. Me too I never make them at home, i wanna try, these looks delicious! with fresh grapevine leaves I’m sure they’re great!

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  37. I had written wild grape leaves off last year after they turned out tough, and my boss (a famous Midwestern chef) told me point blank that “wild grape leaves cannot be cooked”. Thankfully my girlfriends mom is Grecian and fed me some dolmades last week, changed my life. These look really great, can’t wait to make some!

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    • Thanks for visiting and commenting. I try to pick them in the early summer when they are most tender, but as long as I keep to the new growth, I have found them to be very tender well into the summer.

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  38. Since I don’t eat meat, I am going to check your vegetarian version. Didn’t know that it was this easy!

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    • It really is easy. And if you make the vegetarian version you can use either the slow cooker or the method in my meat recipe, cooking them over potatoes.

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  39. I have never tried these …they look very good!

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  40. Yum! My daughter is the family dolma maker, but she usually makes them vegetarian. I will send her a link to this. My other daughter loves meat and may actually eat these (she’s picky).

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  41. This is one of my favourite dishes 🙂

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  42. Pingback: Quiche in Wild Grape Leaf Shells | Along the Grapevine

  43. Pingback: Fermented Wild Grape Leaves | Along the Grapevine

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