What is a dolma you might be asking yourself? Why it is a tasty little morsel! More specifically, a dolma is a stuffed fruit or vegetable, i.e. stuffed cabbage leaves, zucchini, tomato, or in this case, grape leaves. A middle Eastern dish, stuffed grape leaves are DELICIOUS, although they may sound weird to those who aren't so familiar with this culinary delight. You can commonly find dolmades on Greek menus, and as my parents were fond of Greek food while I was growing up, I have had quite a few of these in my lifetime.
Grape leaves are stuffed with a ground beef (or lamb) and rice mixture, with a brightness from lemons and a kick from various spices.
I have never made dolmades before, and as I am expanding my culinary prowess this year, I thought I would give it a go. To kick it up a notch, I developed a crock pot recipe for them, so once you've assembled them, you can just set it and forget them for a few hours!
These are great for parties, make a great appetizer, and are a great (fairly healthy snack). I hope you give them a try!
- 1 8oz jar grape leaves (found in the olive/pickle section of your grocery store)
- 1 lb ground beef (or lamb), browned with a diced onion
- 2 lemons
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 - 2 cups of chicken broth (or beef broth or veggie broth)
- 1 cup white rice, cooked
- 1/2 bunch fresh parsley, chopped fine
- 5 fresh mint leaves, chopped fine
- 1 tbs dried dill
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes
- salt and pepper (to taste, about 1 tsp of each)
- 1 onion, sliced
Place sliced onion in the bottom of your crock pot.
In a large bowl, combine ground beef, rice, beaten egg, parsley, mint, dill, red pepper, salt, and pepper. Mix well. Add in the juice of 1 lemon, mix well. Drain and rinse grape leaves. Take 1 grape leaf, place some of the beef/rice mixture in the middle. Fold in the short sides, fold over one of the long sides and roll. Place seam side down on top of onion in crock pot. Repeat with remaining grape leaves until ground beef mixture and/or grape leaves are gone.
Mix broth and lemon juice together. Pour over stuffed grape leaves in slow cooker. Turn slow cooker to low and cook 6-8 hours or place slow cooker on high and cook 2-3 hours.