Thursday, May 23, 2019


I've been meaning to post this for over a week now, but life keeps tripping me. 

I'm really getting tired of the skinned knees, I tell you.

I've told you about my friend Harriet who passed away last month.  I wrote a little tribute to her here, and showed a few pictures of some of the food she made and shared with us over the years.

Well last week we had our Community Potluck which she instigated and we turned it into a mini-memorial for her. 
I wanted to make something special as a bit of a tribute to her.  She loved Greek food, so it was an easy decision to make these Dolmades.

Luckily for me, a few years ago another friend had showed me how to make Stuffed Grape Leaves, so I knew how to roll these up.  

Here's a few pictures of the process, and believe you me it is a process.

I had to grind my own lamb, even.
Cutting the meat from the bones, I did not discard the fat.
 The lamb, ready for the grinder. 

 After being ground up, I also ground the onion up at the end, which had the added benefit of pushing the remainder of the lamb through the grinder.
Ground Lamb and Onions for Dolmades
The lanb, ground beef and onion in the bowl.
Dolmades filling
 After adding the par-cooked rice
Dolmades filling
I spared you the shot of me using my gloved hand and mixing the ingredients together.  By mixing them by hand, I could get a feel for the meat.  I also did take a small ball of meat and cooked it to taste for seasonings.  Even though the rice was still a touch crunchy.
The plate I portioned the meat mixture out on.  Doing this, helped me to not only keep the dolmades consistent in size, but also helped me to get them rolled quickly.
Dolmades filling
After separating and rinsing the grape leaves.  I removed all the torn leaves and set them aside.
Grape Leaves
The rolling process.  Setting the meat on the grape leaf, with the veins on the inside.  Always do it smooth side out.
Dolmades filling
The first part of rolling the dolmade
Dolmades filling
The sides are tucked in.
And then it's just a case of rolling them up neatly.  You want them firmly rolled but not too tight as the rice needs room to expand as it cooks.
After all the dolmades were rolled. 

tucked firmly into the pot.
 An additional layer of grape leaves spread over the top, ( I did have extras)
Because I didn't want a disaster, I not only placed a plate on top of the grape leaves, but also put a bowl containing some water on top of the plate.  This kept the dolmades submerged. 
After removing them from the cooked broth, I placed them into a serving dish and brought them to the potluck.   I served them alongside some Avogolemono Sauce and some Tzatziki Sauce.


Yield: 15-20 for appetizers or 6-8 for dinner
prep time: 1 hourcook time: 2 hourtotal time: 3 H
Dolmades are a fun appetizer to not only make and eat but also to serve.


  • 1 lb. Ground Lamb
  • 12 oz. Lean Ground Beef
  • 1/2 cup par-cooked long grain rice
  • 1 small onion, ground or finely minced
  • 1 tsp. dried mint
  • 1/2 tsp. dried dill
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse ground pepper
  • 1 jar (16 oz. Grape Leaves)- at least 60 leaves
  • 1 lemon - juiced or
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 2+ cups  chicken broth or plain water
  • 1 whole head of garlic - peeled
Avogolemono Sauce
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1 cup liquid (use the cooking liquid from the dolmades


How to cook Dolmades

  1. Remove the grape leaves from the bottle and separate them.  Rinse in cool water and drain in a colander.  I found it was easiest to submerge them in a bowl of cool water and gently tease the leaves apart, then spread them out in layers in a colander.   Remove any stems.   Place any extra large or damaged leaves to the side.  You'll use these to place on the bottom of the pot you cook the dolmades in. 
  2. Par-cook the rice in a half cup of water in the microwave for 2-3 minutes.  The rice will absorb the water.  Set aside and let cool or spread the rice out on a plate to hasten the cooling process. 
  3. Place the meat, onion,  rice and seasonings into a bowl. Using a gloved hand, mix well. 
  4. As soon as the meat mixture is mixed together, you are ready to roll the dolmades. 
  5. I found it easiest to portion out the meat using a small ice cream scoop.  Each scoop was about a tablespoon.
  6. On a cutting board or other clean surface, spread a grape leaf out, smooth side down.  Place a tablespoon of the meat mixture on the leaf, the side with the veins. Form into a small cigar shape.   Starting at the stem end, form the meat into a small cigar shape, then roll the leaf up from the stem end, tucking in the leaf on each side.  Continue to roll it up firmly but not too tightly.  The rice will expand as they cook, and you don't want any escapees.   Place the rolled up dolmade onto a cookie sheet or other flat surface, seam side down. 
  7. Continue to roll up each Dolmade until you either run out of meat or grape leaves. 
  8. Layer the bottom of the pot you're cooking the dolmades in with the reserved grape leaves. 
  9. When finished with the entire recipe, place all the dolmades into a large pot, layered them neatly but tucked together firmly,  on top of the reserved grape leaves.  Add enough broth or water to just cover the dolmades.  Add the lemon juice and the garlic cloves.   Place a smaller plate on top to keep the dolmades from floating as they cook.  Bring the pot to a boil, then turn the heat down to just simmer and let cook for 1 1/2-2 hours.  Checking to make sure that the broth hasn't cooked away, from time to time.  If the liquid has reduced too much, add a little more water.  The grape leaves at the bottom of the pot will help to keep them from scorching.
  10. When done, remove the dolmades and serve with an Avogolemono Sauce.
Avogolemono Sauce
  1. Whisk together the eggs and lemon juice. 
  2. Place in a pot, and add a little of the hot broth from the cooked Dolmades, whisk together and add more of the broth until it's tempered.  Turn on the heat and cook together for 10 minutes or until it has thickened
Created using The Recipes Generator
Sidsel Munkholm - Author
Sidsel Munkholm - Author

Sid loves to cook, feed people and have fun in the kitchen. She shares her successes and the involuntary offerings she sometimes gives the kitchen goddess as well. And she's still looking for the mythical fairy to help her clean the kitchen after a marathon cooking session. Currently working on a cookbook showcasing the recipes from her Danish heritage.


  1. We love Dolmades and this recipe looks delicious! Hope you are having a good week and thanks so much for sharing with us at Full Plate Thursday!
    Miz Helen

    1. Thanks Miz Helen, I rather like these as well. Have a great week.


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