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Recipe

Dolmades Kasiotiki (Meat-Stuffed Grape Leaves)

Servings: 8 to 10 as an appetizer

Though many versions of dolmades are vegetarian, these have a heartier filling of ground beef and rice. If you have leftover filling, use it to stuff bell peppers or tomatoes.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. ground beef, preferably 85 percent lean
  • 3/4 cup uncooked rice, preferably Carolina
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 small tomato, seeded and finely chopped
  • 5 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbs. tomato paste
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 16 oz. jarred grape leaves
  • 2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
  • Flaky sea salt, for garnish
  • Lemon wedges, for serving

Nutritional Information

  • Calories (kcal) : 220
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 90
  • Fat (g): 11
  • Saturated Fat (g): 2.5
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 1
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 6
  • Cholesterol (mg): 25
  • Sodium (mg): 1630
  • Carbohydrates (g): 21
  • Fiber (g): 5
  • Sugar (g): 1
  • Protein (g): 12

Preparation

  • In a large bowl, combine the beef, rice, onion, tomato, 3 Tbs. of the oil, the tomato paste, 2-1/2 tsp. kosher salt, and 1/2 tsp. pepper. Refrigerate, covered, until ready to use.
  • Add 6 cups of water to a medium Dutch oven or other heavy-duty pot. Bring the water to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to low. Gently unfold and loosen the grape-leaf bunches (don’t worry if you can’t unfold each bunch completely), add to the water, and simmer until they soften, 10 to 12 minutes.
  • Drain the grape leaves, and carefully run under cold water to cool. Transfer the damp leaves to a plate, then cover lightly with a damp kitchen towel to keep moist, reserving any torn leaves. Working with one leaf at a time, slice away any remaining hard stem.
  • Put a grape leaf on a work surface smooth side down. Depending on the size of the leaf, the amount of filling can vary from 1 tsp. to 1 Tbs. Put the filling at the stem end of the grape leaf, and roll up from the stem to enclose; it should be plump but not overstuffed. Fold the two sides of the leaf over the filling, and continue rolling from the stem end. Transfer to a baking sheet seam side down, and repeat until you have used all the filling and/or whole grape leaves.
  • Line the bottom of a large Dutch oven or other heavy-duty pot with a circle of parchment. Arrange a bed of the reserved torn leaves to cover the parchment (don’t worry if you don’t have enough leaves). Put the dolmades on top of the torn leaves in a circle, placing them as close together as possible and stacking them in two layers, if necessary.
  • Gently pour 1 cup of hot water, the remaining 2 Tbs. oil, and the lemon juice over the dolmades. Cover with another circle of parchment, then cover with a heavy plate to prevent the dolmades from floating while cooking.
  • Cover the pot with the lid ajar, and cook over low heat until the rice is cooked through, 45 to 50 minutes.
  • Gently remove the dolmades from the pot, and drain on paper towels. Transfer to a platter, and sprinkle with flaky sea salt. Serve warm or at room temperature with the lemon wedges.

Tip

You can make and cook the dolmades up to two days ahead and store, covered, in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature, then rewarm in the microwave (about 30 seconds) or in a 200°F oven for 5 minutes just before serving.

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