Stuffed Grape Leaves
This dish is often used as an appetizer, but it's also good as a light supper. Serve it with a cucumber yogurt-salad.
INGREDIENTS | SERVES 4–6
- 1 pound lean ground lamb
- 1 cup uncooked long-grain rice
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- 1 1-pound jar of grape leaves
- Nonstick cooking spray
- Water or chicken broth as needed
- Juice of 2 lemons
In a bowl, mix together the lamb, rice, cinnamon, allspice, salt, and pepper.
Drain the grape leaves. Use any small leaves to line the bottom of a heavy saucepan or Dutch oven treated with nonstick spray.
Lay each larger leaf on a flat surface, vein-side up; trim off any stem. Spoon some of the lamb mixture onto the center of each grape leaf.
To form each roll, fold the stem end over the filling, then fold the sides over each other, and fold down the tip. Carefully place each roll, seam-side down, in the saucepan. Place the rolls close together in the pan to prevent them from unrolling while they cook. You may end up with several layers of rolls, depending on the size of the pan.
Place a plate over the rolls and then add enough water or broth to cover the plate. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes.
Add the lemon juice; cover and continue to simmer for an additional 30 minutes. The stuffed grape leaves (dolmas or dolmades) are done when they're tender when pierced with a fork. You can serve them warm, at room temperature, or cool.
In a serving bowl, mix together 3 cups of drained plain yogurt and 2 or 3 peeled, seeded, and thinly sliced cucumbers. Add 12 fresh chopped mint leaves, 2 minced garlic cloves, and some salt to a small bowl, and crush them together. Stir the mint mixture into the salad. Add more salt, if needed. Chill until ready to serve.