Dolma, Stuffed Grape Leaves

Dolma, Stuffed Grape Leaves


  • 2 pounds boned shoulder lamb or chuck beef chopped or one pound of each
  • 1 onion diced
  • 1/2 bunch of fresh dill minced
  • 1/2 bunch of fresh mint minced
  • dash of salt
  • 1/2 cup uncooked rice
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 2 jars of grape leaves
  • 1 - 2 sticks of butter (or margarine)


Cook meat and onion together. While meat is cooking, remove grape leaves from jar, gently unroll and wash brine from each grape leaf. Cool the meat. When meat is cool add dill, mint, rice and garlic. Place a teaspoonful of filling in the bottom center of each leaf, fold in sides and roll up. Arrange in a large saucepan or stock pot (you don't want too many layers otherwise the rice will not cook), in layers, with chucks of butter between layers. Pour in 2 cups of water, place a plate on top of leaves to weight down. Cover pot and cook on low heat until leaves are soft and rice is cooked (1 hour or more, yes!!!! taste test!!!). Replace water as necessary to prevent dehydration. Serve hot or cold with sour cream or yogurt for dipping. NOTE 1: The idea is to steam the grape leaves so that they do not dry out during the cooking process. You could use a steamer. Grape leaves can be served hot or cold. You may use ground beef instead of lamb and chuck. You can use dried herbs instead of fresh. Salt is not really necessary as the grape leaves are packed in a salted brine. The dolma freezes beautifully. You can reheat dolma in the microwave in a loosely covered dish with a little water. If you double the receipe, then use two pots to cook the wrapped leaves. NOTE 2: If you want to pick your own leaves then pick ones that are tender and smooth (no fuzz). You can prepare them by stacking them underside up, with the stems on top of each other. Put about 10 leaves in each stack. Roll each stack up and tie with string. Bring two quarts of heavily salted water to a boil. Boil the leaves about 30 seconds, until they just wilt and turn a darker green. Plunge leaves into cold water to stop the blanching process. You can now use or freeze the leaves. You can use the meat filling to stuff peppers and tomatoes too.

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