Tuesday, February 1, 2011
I used the Grape Leaves!
Back in July, on my parents farm, we harvested (prolly the last growth) of grape leaves from my mom's vines. While this was a little late in the season for the picking, they still looked really nice and I was very excited to have them in the winter to use with the large amounts of hamburger we tend to have in our freezer.
I rinsed the leaves in plenty of water to remove any salt from the canning (very gently!) I'd say 80% turned out with no rips or tears. The larger leaves work the best, so next year we'll have to make sure to pick the big ones!
To make dolmades you simply mix ground beef (or lamp or pork or a mixture!) with uncooked rice and spices. Wrap the mixture in the grape leaves, like you would an egg roll or burrito, it's about a table spoon per large leaf, don't overfill.
Then placing any ripped leaves on the bottom of a dutch oven, drizzle with a little bit of olive oil and place the wraps on top. Cover with about an inch of water, and then cover again with a bowl or large plate. You want the rice to cook and the beef to steam, but not in to large of an area, ideally with some weight on them. This worked for me with the dutch oven and a glass plate, but you could also use a small sauce pan with a tight lid I would think.
After about 30 minutes the water will have evaporated and the dolmades will be cooked.
I didn't add enough spices to the meat mixture, so make sure you make it very flavorful, with oregano, mint, dill or another green herb. Lots of things could be used as a spice.
The leaves were so tender and just fell apart with a fork. Can't wait to try these again!