Stuffed Grape Leaves (Dolmas)

March  4, 2019
5 Ratings
Photo by Ty Mecham
  • Prep time 20 minutes
  • Cook time 35 minutes
  • Serves 4 to 6
Author Notes

While this recipe is traditionally made with lamb, it can be substituted for your preference of meat. Any combination of beef, turkey, chicken, or pork is delicious. —Dayana Sarkisova

Test Kitchen Notes

Featured in: On Stuffed Grape Leaves—& Seeking Refuge in America. —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground lamb
  • 2/3 cup jasmine rice
  • 1 large white onion, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1 large handful fresh dill, minced
  • 1 large handful fresh cilantro, minced
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 pound jar grape leaves
  • 32 ounces broth (optional)
  • 1 large tomato, diced
  • 2 teaspoons tomato paste
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed
  1. Mix the ground meat, rice, onion, garlic, all herbs, salt, pepper, and paprika in a large bowl. Add warm water as you mix, a few teaspoons at a time, until the mixture is sticky, slightly slimy, and well-combined.
  2. In a large stockpot, place a small heatproof dish upside down at the bottom, then cover with a layer of grape leaves. This will collect the foam from the meat when it starts boiling and will prevent the dolma from moving around.
  3. Begin rolling your dolma. Take a leaf, and place it shiny side down on your workplace. Spoon an appropriate amount of mixture into the center (eyeball this, but it's usually one large tablespoon per large leaf). Fold the left side in, followed by right, then roll upward from the bottom.
  4. Arrange all of the dolma neatly in the stockpot as you go. Pour water, or broth if using, over the dolma until just submerged.
  5. Arrange tomato pieces over the top, along with the tomato paste and butter.
  6. Bring pot to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cover the pot with a lid, leaving just a bit exposed for steam to escape. Simmer until rice is cooked through, approximately 30 minutes. Serve hot.
  7. Optional: We prefer to enjoy our dolma with a buttermilk dressing. For this, combine a cup of buttermilk with crushed garlic and herbs to taste, whisk vigorously, and drizzle over top.

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