I am excited to share that I made dolmas over the weekend! My love brought me some grape leaves from his backyard. Two of my favorite things together! Fresh foraged food made into a handheld package for eating and Boris.
I perused many recipes over the weekend to see how other people have made them, then put together what I thought would be good. See my recipe for them here.
I will have to go pick some more as they are good blanched and frozen for up to 6 months, that way I will have some at Christmas time that I can stuff with dried cranberries and apples! MMM… so tasty.
You can buy grape leaves canned in a store or as I like to do, pick them fresh in the late spring early summer when they are still young and not too tough and chewy. I wanted them fresh so that I knew where they were coming from and know that they are not sprayed with all kinds of pesticides as any type of fruit bearing plants typically are.
I picked 24 beautifully shaped leaves, stems attached and no holes. I then blanched them, immediately plunged them into cold water and set them on a tea towel to dry. I left the stems on so that they were easier to work with and to keep them from tearing. The leaves are quite delicate, so some care is needed when handling them.
Shiney side down, lay them flat then carefully clip off the stem. Add your stuffing, (I made 12 vegetarian and 12 with meat) fold in the sides then carefully roll them up. Place on a steam rack and steam for 30-45 minutes. Tada! You’re done! You can serve them hot or cold. I like to serve them with a cucumber yogurt dip.
It seemed strange to me that the recipes I read all said to cook the rice until it was only half done, but when you are steaming them the rice gets fully cooked and not mushy.
You could take the basic recipe and add cranberries instead of currants and walnuts instead of pine nuts and I think they would still be very good with all the spices.