Intermediate Cook - Lengthy Cooking Time - Gluten-Free
Stuffed grape leaves or "dolmades" have always been one of my favorite mediterranean dishes. Growing up, my mother kept one or two cans in the pantry, which she usually had to replenish on a weekly basis, given that they wouldn't stay there for long. That was back then, when I didn't know how to make my own. While this recipe is somewhat time consuming, the flavors of canned stuffed grape leaves pale by comparison. In addition, my mother-in-law has taught me a brilliant version of this recipe using romaine lettuce leaves instead of grape leaves.
Not only is the lettuce easier to come by, the stuffing and rolling process is slightly more straightforward, and the flavor of the lettuce is less briny than the grape leaves, making the dish lighter. There are many different stuffing recipes, some call for pine nuts, others only include rice. Our family recipe is a combination of rice and ground beef. In the process steps below, I have detailed the preparation using both grape leaves and romaine lettuce.
Ingredients (Serves 4)
Time - 2 hours and 30 minutes
If stuffing romain lettuce leaves:
If stuffing grape leaves:
If stuffing romaine lettuce leaves: