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Author Notes: My parents were living in Greece for most of the time that my mom was pregnant with me, flying home just to have me (whoops, sorry! :-) So I am pretty sure that I came by my love of lamb, yogurt, dolmas and all things Greek through osmosis ... —aargersi
Serves 20-25 dolmas
- 1/2 pound ground lamb
- 2 cloves garlic - minced
- olive oil
- 1/2 cup tomato sauce (half a small can)
- 1/2 cup parboiled white rice
- 1/4 cup dry white wine
- 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
- 1 pinch of cinnamon
- 3 sprigs fresh oregano
- 2 sprigs fresh dill
- 2 sprigs fresh mint
- 8 ounces jar of grape leaves
- equal parts chicken broth and white wine for cooking
- 1 cup Greek yogurt
- 1/2 cup minced English cucumber (I like it skin on)
- 1 small clove garlic
- zest and juice from 1/2 a lemon
- pinch salt
- 2 sprigs of fresh dill
- Make the filling - put enough olive oil in a skillet to coat the bottom, and heat to medium high. Add the lamb and garlic and cook until the lamb is browned, breaking it up as it cooks. You could drain off some of the fat, but I don't ... turn off the heat. Add the remaining ingredients except the grape leaves and cooking liquid, and stir to combine.
- Pull the grape leaves out of the jar - they will be in a sort of bundle. Rinse them a bit and set them in a colander to drain. Get a very large covered skillet out, then start separating the grape leaves. Some of them will be torn or too small to mess with, use these to line the skillet as you go.
- Roll the dolmas - place a grap leaf shiny side down on your work surface. Place a spoonfull (I use a regular soup spoon) of filling right near the stem. Fold the two sides over the filling, then roll it up into a little bundle. Don't roll the too tight as the rice will expand during cooking. Place them in you leaf lined skillet as you go (I roll and line simultaneously since you find the ripped up leaves in with the good ones) You should wind up with 20 to 25 dolmas.
- Fill the skillet to halfway up the sides of the dolmas with half broth and half wine, cover and bring to a simmer, cook for 20 minutes. Make the tzatziki while the dolmas cook.
- Tzatziki - put the yogurt in a bowl. Microplane in the garlic then the lemon zest, squeeze in the lemon juice, then add the cucumber, salt and dill. Tzatziki often calls for olive oil but since this is going with the rich lamb dolmas I don't add any. Stir. That's it!
- When the dolmas are cooked, remove the lid from the pan, turn off the heat and let them rest for a bit. Then serve them with the tzatziki - these are best served warm!!!
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best One-Bite Party Snack
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Spring Lamb
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