Dolmathes, or stuffed grape leaves are one of my favorite things to make, maybe its because my mom used me as child labor starting from age 8 or so to help with labor at our restaurant. During my formative years, about age 3 to age 14 my parents ran a restaurant/bar, perhaps this explains much of my oddness in general. If you’ve worked in the “industry” it attracts a special group of folks, an awesomely bi-polar group of misfits, especially in Utah in the 80?s and 90?s, the food biz didn’t make you a rock star like “chefs” are in the now times. Cooking was a job for the troubled soul, the criminal, the outcast, and this is perhaps why I am so fond of those types in general. Myself and my sisters would sit at the bar or later in the back by the walk in at our place on 33rd and Washington, and roll dolmathes or stab souvlaki for hours, honestly I hated it at the time…now I would go back in a heart beat just to sit and listen to “Rollin’s Band”, talk with our staff, and argue with my sisters while I flipped marinade at them. Good ole’ days. Anyhoo, I am sharing this recipe…its honestly a little hard for me to do, as I am attached to it and never given it out. Shall we begin the potion of amore? Yes I think so: —Alexandra V. Jones
1 1/2 pounds
ground lamb or beef, or mix. I like 85/15 for this
Jar, brined grape leaves, if you live on a wine vineyard in Napa or something feel free to use fresh leaves, just salt and blanch beforehand
long grain rice, you can use quinoa or another fast cooking grain if you wish
Roma, tomato diced small
each salt and pepper
large shallot, minced
cloves garlic, pressed or minced
fresh chopped parsley
salty beef stock, you need it to be a bit salty to flavor them, so add a few teaspoons sea salt to average stock, that should do the trick or use a good quality bouillon
In a large bowl mix meat, spices, rice, tomatoes, shallots, garlic, and herbs, I used my hands to do this, make sure each ingredient is well incorporated.
Drain grape leaves, and lay one flat with the seamed side facing up, begin rolling, One does this by taking a grape leaf and putting a “fat fingers” worth of filling in and rolling it “burrito style”
Continue rolling until you run out of either meat or leaves. Place rolled dolmathes in a heavy bottomed pan, use a plate placed over them to weigh them down, then add 3 cups beef stock, cover, bring to a boil then turn down to medium low for about 30 minutes.
When finished cooking, squeeze juice from lemons over dolmathes, whip eggs till light, temper in 1 cup of the cooking liquid add to a small sauce pan with the other cup of cooking liquid and heat on low till lightly thickened……pour over dolmathes and serve!