Terre Pruitt's Blog

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Posts Tagged ‘dolmades’

Stuffed Grape Leaves Part 3 – Stuffing And Cooking The Stuffed Grape Leaves

Posted by terrepruitt on June 3, 2019

Since there are so many names and so many versions of stuffed grape leaves, and while I would like to think I am cooking a Greek version of them, I think that traditionally dolmades (or whatever) don’t have lamb in them. So . . . I am calling what I made Stuffed Grape Leaves.

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Stuffed Grape Leaves – How I Made Them

30 grape leaves for stuffing – prepped, see previous post
4 or 5 grape leaves for the bottom of the pot (enough to put at least one layer on the bottom)*
1 lb of ground lamb
1 3/4 cups of rice**Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia in the City of San Jose, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Gentle Yoga, Group Ex classes, YMCA, Zumba, Nia Technique, SJ City Fit, SJCityFit, City of San Jose Exercise Classes, Cambrian Yoga & Cardio Dance, CYCD
1/2 large onion
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper
.66 ounces dill
six cups of broth
olive oil***

Chop the onion. Chop the dill. In a large bowl mix the lamb, rice, onion, garlic, salt, pepper, and dill.***

Place a grape leaf (or put a few out) on your work surface with the smooth side down (you will be placing the stuffing on the “ribbed” side).

Depending on the size of the leaves use about a tablespoon or so of the mixture and place it on a leaf at the bottom (stem area). It is easier to roll the leaf if the mixture is sort of cigar stub shape. Fold over the sides of the leaf then the bottom (where the stem was) then roll from the bottom. Remember not to roll too tight because the rice will expand during cooking. Place the rolled grape leaf seam side down.

Cover the bottom of the pot with grape leaves. Since they won’t fit perfectly you will end up with overlapping leaves, that is perfect as you want to insulate the stuffed grape leaves from the bottom of the pot.

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia in the City of San Jose, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Gentle Yoga, Group Ex classes, YMCA, Zumba, Nia Technique, SJ City Fit, SJCityFit, City of San Jose Exercise Classes, Cambrian Yoga & Cardio Dance, CYCDWhen you are all done stuffing, place the rolled leaves in the bottom of the pot starting around the edge of the pot, not too close, but “friendly”. Continue to fill the bottom of the pot. Once the bottom is filled you can layer them. I would imagine that you might not want to go over four or five layers . . . but I don’t know.

After you have all the stuffed grape leaves in the pot, pour some olive oil on top of them splashing a little onto each roll, then you want to weight them down, not smoosh them, but weight them down. You can use a plate (or two, if need be) or a lid. Then pour in six cups of broth, I used chicken broth.

Bring the broth to a soft boil, then lower the heat and let cook for about 60 minutes. Depending on the size of the rolls, I would check them at 50 minutes. The rolls I made were HUGE so I waited to check them after 60 minutes, then I cooked them for 10 more.

Once they are thoroughly cooked serve them hot or cold.

 

*I used leaves straight off the vine for the bottom of the pot. I washed them, but I did not blanch them. The leaves I used were HUGE (one leaf pretty much covered the entire bottom) so I only used three or four to give it good insulation.

**I used more rice than this, but it was too much so I am going to try 1 3/4 cup

***I did not use any oil IN the mixture, but I am planning on putting a little in next time

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I see me making adjustments to this recipe as I go along. This was just my first time winging it. I kept saying as I was making the stuffing, “I think I used too many onions.” And my husband kept making comments about the recipe. I kept having to tell him, “There is no recipe. I am not following a recipe! The ones I saw had mint and/or cinnamon and/or pine nuts in them so I was just trying to figure something out.”

As I mentioned I did not put oil in them, but looking at a recipe after I made them I saw one person did. I think I might do that next time. I don’t know. My husband said they were fine. I never really know, though because he likes pretty much everything. I tried a tiny taste of the stuffing, but not the grape leaf.

This is part 3 of 4 – Stuffed Grape Leaves Part 3 – Stuffing And Cooking The Stuffed Grape Leaves

Next . . . the lemon sauce . . . kinda like the soup.

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You can see the difference in the blanched leaves.

 

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Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia in the City of San Jose, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Gentle Yoga, Group Ex classes, YMCA, Zumba, Nia Technique, SJ City Fit, SJCityFit, City of San Jose Exercise Classes, Cambrian Yoga & Cardio Dance, CYCD

They were bigger than the ones my husband normally eats.  His eyes lit up when we saw how large they were.

He enjoyed them for days.  He said that he did not taste a difference between the leaves.  He could tell that some were barely blanched and some were “well” blanched.

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Stuffed Grape Leaves Part 1 – The Idea

Posted by terrepruitt on May 27, 2019

It has been so long I can’t even remember if the grapevines were in the yard when we moved in or if my husband planted them. Either way I do know that for as long as we have lived here (over two decades) I have said, “Oh I should make something using our grape leaves.” And by something I meant stuffed grape leaves because I don’t know of anything else that one actually uses grape leaves for. The vines are very hearty. My husband trims them back and the next thing I know I am looking outside to see the vine latching onto the lemon tree again. A couple of weeks ago I happen to look outside and see the vines with beautiful green leaves washed clean by all the rain. I decided to surprise my hubby with some stuffed grape leaves. I googled it and glanced quickly at a recipe listing dill as an ingredient. So I went to the store and bought what I thought I needed to make them. Then I got cold feet when I realized I didn’t know how to prepare the leaves. I had originally been thinking I would just cut them off the vine and roll the stuffing up in them. But then I realized they probably needed some prep. In the middle of that revelation it dawned on me that perhaps stuffed grape leaves were actually meatless? Ya see, part of the issue with this whole endeavor was – I don’t eat them myself. I have never had one. My husband loves them (LOVES THEM!), but I have never even tried one. So it was kind of a challenge to figure out how to make them.

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia in the City of San Jose, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Gentle Yoga, Group Ex classes, YMCA, Zumba, Nia Technique, SJ City Fit, SJCityFit, City of San Jose Exercise Classes, Cambrian Yoga & Cardio Dance, CYCDOne would think you could just look up the recipe on the internet, but – ha! There doesn’t even seem to be a consensus on what they are called much less how to make them. Plus, when I post a recipe – for the most part – I want it to be at least MY version of it if not entirely “original.” In regards to what they are called, I have seen them called

dolma
dolmades
dolmadaki
dolmeh
dolmates
dolmathes
dolmathakia

and that is just the words starting with D. Seems like stuffed grape leaves are like “Swedish Meatballs” and every culture has their own version with its own name (of course).

When I did look it up I found recipes with cinnamon and pine nuts. Now, I know my hubby would eat and probably like whatever I made, but I was TRYING to surprise him and make something that he actually liked and was somewhat familiar. But with every recipe I found having different ingredients I decided to just try making something that was simple and somewhat familiar (I was hoping). When I researched further – after I had gone shopping, in addition to pine nuts and nutmeg I was finding recipes with MINT. Makes sense mint and lamb, but I had already bought dill so I was going to use that.

My research on how to prepare the grape leaves had me thinking I should have started the process DAYS before I was planning on actually making the recipe. The information I was seeing was that they needed to soak in a brine solution for days. There were some sites that said they could be blanched. But, again, I started thinking that in order to make this a treat and something he likes and is used to, I should have PURCHASED grape leaves. But then again, the whole reason I wanted to do this was to use our leaves. Sigh. All of this thinking and planning was probably over the course of ten days. It took so long because of my chickening-out-period!

As usual since I planned on posting about this I decided to just fly by the seat of my pants and make it up as I went along. I always feel funny posting other people’s recipes (but I have after making them) so I mostly try to make my own version. I will need a few posts to get it all documented. I started with the leaves.

This is part 1 of 4 – Stuffed Grape Leaves Part 1 – The Idea
Next:  Part 2 of 4 – Stuffed Grape Leaves Part 2 – Prepping The Fresh Grape Leaves
Next:  Part 3 of 4 – Stuffed Grape Leaves Part 3 – Stuffing And Cooking The Stuffed Grape Leaves
Next:  Part 4 of 4 – Stuffed Grape Leaves Part 4 – Avgolemono Sauce

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