Dolmades (Greek Stuffed Grape Leaves)
Makes 50 to 60 dolmades
- 1 pound grape leaves, fresh or jarred
- 1 cup long-grain white rice, such as Carolina rice
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- 1 onion, minced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 cups water
- Pinch of ground coriander
- 2 to 3 sprigs fresh dill, finely chopped
- 2 to 3 sprigs fresh mint, finely chopped
- Juice and zest of 2 lemons
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Warm water or vegetable broth, to cook the dolmades
If using fresh grape leaves, immerse them for 2 to 3 minutes in boiling, salted water, then place them in a bowl of water with ice to cool. The ice will also preserve the vibrant green of the leaves. With a sharp knife, remove the stems of the leaves, then pat dry with kitchen towels.
If using jarred grape leaves in brine, rinse and drain them well, then pat dry with kitchen towels.
Rinse the rice in cold water a couple of times and drain well.
In a small saucepan over low heat, sauté the onion and garlic in olive oil, stirring often, until soft, about 10 minutes. Add the rice and water. Cover with a lid, and let simmer until the rice is parboiled, about 10 minutes. Stir in the chopped herbs and lemon zest, plus salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat and let rest for 10 minutes before assembling the rolls.
To roll a dolma, place a grape leaf on a flat surface with the shiny side down. Scoop a teaspoon of rice filling and place it next to the bottom (stem) end of the leaf. Start rolling the dolma from this end, up toward the center, and stop in the middle. Fold the sides over the rice filling and continue rolling up tightly. Transfer to a platter, with the seam tucked underneath, while you repeat with the remaining grape leaves and filling.
Layer the bottom of a wide, deep skillet with some torn grape leaves, and drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice. Arrange the dolmades, seam-side down, in the skillet in tight rows, layering them as needed until you have all the rolls snuggly fit in. Drizzle the top layer generously with more olive oil and lemon juice (the cooking will cut the acidity). Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Place an inverted plate on top of the dolmades to keep them tightly in place. Add warm water or broth to the skillet to a level about 1 inch above the top of the dolmades, so they are entirely covered. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer over low heat for an hour.
Remove from heat and let the dolmades cool in the skillet before removing the plate. Serve cold or at room temperature, with yogurt or tzatziki for dipping.
You can freeze leftover dolmades for up to six months.