Here's your first lesson in Greek food from someone who has no business showing anyone how to cook Greek food! But I've made this dish a few times, so I feel pretty confident with this one. We're making dolmades--grape leaves stuffed with a delicious mixture of lamb and rice. If you think you won't like this recipe because you think you don't like grape leaves or lamb, I'm going to say you're probably wrong. Just try one. I bet you'll like it! And it's surprisingly easy. Here's all you need:
A pound of ground lamb, finely chopped onion (I only use about a 1/3 cup), 2/3 cup white rice, 2/3 cup pine nuts (or whatever you have on hand...those bad boys are expensive!), a teaspoon of salt, 1/4 teaspoon of pepper, 1 teaspoon chopped fresh mint, 1 jar of grape leaves, 1 and a half cups water.
Mix up the rice (uncooked!), onion, pine nuts, mint, salt and pepper, and lamb in a mixing bowl.
Next check out your grape leaves. There will be several cigar-like rolls of leaves in the jar.
You have to gently find the end of a leaf and start unrolling it. You'll end up with a perfectly lovely grape leaf!
Rinse it off, and lay it rib-side down. Here's where it just gets ridiculously easy.
Place a spoonful of the meat mixture on the base of the leaf. Pull in the sides, then roll it up:
Continue until the meat mixture is gone. You'll have grape leaves left over. This is a good thing because you'll need to make these again soon. Put all of your dolmades in a deep skillet, keeping them tightly packed. Pour the cup and a half of water into the skillet, and bring it to a simmer.
Once it's simmering, reduce the heat to medium low and cover the skillet. Leave it alone for 50-55 minutes. Then they're done! Ready to eat!
Now I'm hungry. Again. Good thing I have some extra dolmades in the freezer for Greek craving emergencies!