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Greek Recipes

Meat Main Dishes

Stuffed Grape Leaves / Dolmades

This traditional dish may seem a bit tedious but it's worth the effort.  

Serve Dolmathes with a Greek Salad, and lots of Tzatziki.  Also check out the recipe for Stuffed Grape Leaves with Meat in the meat section if you would like to try another variation of these

Stuffed Grape Leaves - Vegetarian / Dolmathes  Pseutiki
Ingredients:
1/3 cup olive oil  
1 onion, minced  
2-3 cups uncooked rice  
2 tbs. tomato paste
1/2 cup chopped fresh dill
2/3 cup water  
40-50 grape leaves plus extra to line the pot
salt & pepper  
vegetable stock

Heat the oil in a skillet, add the onion and fry it until translucent. Add the rice, tomato paste, dill , water, salt & pepper. Cook it all together for about 10 minutes until the water is absorbed. Keep an eye on the mixture as it cooks and keep stirring it so the rice doesn't stick to the bottom. Set aside.  

Using a large pot (make sure you have a lid for it), line the bottom with the extra grape leaves. This will keep your stuffed leaves from getting burned.  

Follow the directions for  Stuffin grape leaves    Place the roll seam side down in your leaf-lined pot. Continue rolling up the leaves and arranging them side by side in the pot until all the stuffing is used. You want a sort of tight fit so that they don't unravel when cooking. If you run out of room in the pot, it's ok to add more rolls on top of bottom layers.

When you have rolled up and arranged all the rolls, add enough stock to fill the pot to 1 inch below the top layer. Find an oven proof plate or dish that will fit inside the pot. Pressing gently, place it upside down, over the rolls to weight them down so they don't unravel. Cover your pot with the lid and cook over moderate heat for about 30 minutes. They are done when the rice is cooked. 

Susie's Note:  The stuffed rolls can be refrigerated in the pan without water until you're ready to cook them up. When you want to serve them, remember to be gentle when removing them from the pot, as the rolls will break rather easily. I use a tablespoon instead of a fork because it keeps the leaves from breaking.

 

Stuffed Grape Leaves with Meat / Dolmathes  
This traditional dish may seem a bit tedious but it's worth the effort.  Serve Dolmathes with a Greek Salad, and lots of Tzatziki Also check out the recipe for Stuffed Grape Leaves - Vegetarian if you prefer a meatless version of these goodies.  

Ingredients:
1/3 cup olive oil  
1 onion, minced  
1lb. ground pork, beef or lamb
1 cup uncooked rice  
2 tbs. tomato paste
1/2 cup chopped fresh dill
2/3 cup water  
40-50 grape leaves plus extra to line the pot
salt & pepper  
chicken, vegetable or beef stock

Heat the oil in a skillet, add the onion and fry it until translucent. Add the meat and cook until its crumbly. Add the rice, tomato paste, dill , water, salt & pepper. Cook it all together for about 10 minutes until the water is absorbed. Keep an eye on the mixture as it cooks and keep stirring it so the rice doesn't stick to the bottom. Set aside.  

Using a large pot (make sure you have a lid for it), line the bottom with the extra grape leaves. This will keep your stuffed leaves from getting burned.  

Follow the directions for Stuffing Grape Leaves.  Place the roll seam side down in your leaf-lined pot. Continue rolling up the leaves and arranging them side by side in the pot until all the stuffing is used. You want a sort of tight fit so that they don't unravel when cooking. If you run out of room in the pot, it's ok to add more rolls on top of bottom layers.

Stuffing Grape Leaves
The recipes for Stuffed Grape Leaves - Vegetarian or Stuffed Grape Leaves with Meat call for a bit of special technique in rolling up the delicate packages of stuffing.  

The best grape leaves to use are the tender, fresh ones that grow on the vines in the summer months before the vines begin to bear fruit.  Here in the Islands, the village women will harvest the small leaves and preserve them in brine so that the traditional dish,  Dolmathes can be enjoyed year-through.  Since most of us don't have grape vines growing in our yard, you can check out a Greek specialty shop or market that will have the preserved leaves.

Either way, fresh leaves or preserved, begin by rinsing them well under running water and setting them aside to drain.  Place a grape leaf in the palm of your hand 'veins up'.  Put a tablespoon of the stuffing mixture into the center of the leaf.  Fold in each side over the stuffing, then fold up the bottom so it resembles an envelope, and roll it up into a parcel. Be patient, as it takes time and practice to learn how to roll these babies up.

 

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