Make Ahead

Grape leaves with goat cheese, olives, raisins, and mint

October 26, 2010
Author Notes

I actually made this recipe way back when I tested [email protected]'s recipe for grape leaves stuffed with goat cheese, pine nuts, and thyme. I decided to play around with some other flavor combinations and this one was so delicious, my husband and I just couldn't stop popping dolmas the rest of the evening (and he had sworn he would never like stuffed grape leaves). The flavors are actually inspired by a Mediterranean tuna steak I once had. —fiveandspice

  • Makes about 20
Ingredients
  • 20 or so, grape leaves, jarred or fresh
  • 2 cups cooked rice
  • 10 ounces chevre
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 2-3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
  • 1/2 cup raisins (preferrably golden raisins, but any kind will be tasty)
  • 2-3 tablespoons pitted and chopped Greek olives
  • salt and pepper
In This Recipe
Directions
  1. First prepare the grape leaves. If they’re in a jar they’ll have instructions to follow, which generally involve rinsing, blanching in boiling water, and drying. If they’re fresh, bring a pot of water to a boil, put in the leaves one at a time until they’re all in, then turn off the heat and let them stand for about 8 minutes. Pour them into a colander and douse them with cold water to stop the cooking. Lay them out on towels and press them with another towel to dry (yes, this may briefly take over all the surface space of your kitchen), then allow them to sit and dry until you’re ready to use them.
  2. To make the filling, stir the ingredients from the rice through the raisins together in a bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  3. To assemble, lay one gape leaf at a time flat on a work surface. Place a good spoonful (a Tbs. or so) of the filling on the leaf towards the bottom. Fold the bottom up, fold one side over, fold the top down, and then roll it up in the remaining side, into a little bundle. I think of it as kind of like wrapping a miniature burrito.
  4. lace the rolled leaf tucked sides down on a serving dish, and repeat with the rest of the leaves until the filling is used up. Chill until you’re ready to serve them. Serve as is, or if you have the grill going, grill them for 1-2 minutes per side to add a little delicious smoky flavor.

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Review
I like to say I'm a lazy iron chef (I just cook with what I have around), renegade nutritionist, food policy wonk, and inveterate butter and cream enthusiast! My husband and I own a craft distillery in Northern Minnesota called Vikre Distillery (www.vikredistillery.com), where I claimed the title, "arbiter of taste." I also have a doctorate in food policy, for which I studied the changes in diet and health of new immigrants after they come to the United States. I myself am a Norwegian-American dual citizen. So I have a lot of Scandinavian pride, which especially shines through in my cooking on special holidays. Beyond loving all facets of food, I'm a Renaissance woman (translation: bad at focusing), dabbling in a variety of artistic and scientific endeavors.