Dolmades (Stuffed Vine Leaves)

 

Introduction

You will find the vine leaves for this favourite Dolmades easy recipe in packets in supermarkets.

Serves: 4, or 6 as a starter

 

Ingredients

  • 12 large vine leaves in brine, 4 oz (110 g)
  • 2 fl oz (75 ml) basmati rice, cooked in 4 fl oz (120 ml) water
  • 1½ tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 oz (25 g) pine nuts
  • 1 lb 8 oz (700 g) peeled and chopped fresh tomatoes or same quantity tinned tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons tomato purée
  • 1½ teaspoons fresh or 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3 small cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • Salt and freshly milled black pepper

 

Instructions

First, soak the vine leaves in boiling water for 20 minutes, then drain and spread out each leaf flat – vein side uppermost. Heat the oil in a frying pan and fry the pine nuts until golden. Then add the cooked rice, one-third of the tomatoes, the purée, half the oregano, the mint, parsley, cinnamon and garlic. Stir well, then cook for 2 minutes.

Now add the lemon juice and season. Spoon a dessertspoonful of the mixture on to the stalk end of a leaf and fold once, pressing the filling to a sausage shape. Then tuck in the sides of the leaf and roll it up to make a tight, cylindrical parcel.

When all the leaves are filled, spoon half of the leftover tomatoes into the casserole. Now pack the dolmades in and spoon the remaining tomatoes and oregano on top. Add a seasoning of salt and pepper, pour over 2½ fl oz (65 ml) water, put a lid on and simmer very gently for 1 hour. Serve hot or cold with the juices spooned over.

Note: You will also need a 2 pint (1.2 litre) lidded, flameproof casserole.

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