Grape Leaves Stuffed with Rice and Raisins
This is a recipe for dolamades, an eastern European specialty.
Yield: serves 6
- 2⁄3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, preferably Greek
- 1 large red onion, finely chopped
- 1⁄2 cup uncooked long-grain rice, rinsed and drained
- 1⁄3 cup finely chopped fresh mint leaves
- 1⁄4 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
- 1⁄4 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted
- 1⁄4 cup raisins
- 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 50 grape leaves in brine from one 16-oz. jar, drained and rinsed
- 3 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
- 2 cups strained thick yogurt, preferably Greek
- Heat 1⁄3 cup of the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and cook, stirring often, until soft, 6–8 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in 2 tbsp. of the oil, rice, mint, parsley, pine nuts, raisins, garlic, and salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
- Working in batches, blanch leaves in a large pot of boiling water until softened, 4–5 minutes per batch. Using a slotted spoon, transfer leaves to a colander, rinse with cold water, and drain. Working in batches, lay grape leaves out, vein side up, with stems facing you. Pinch off stems and put 1 tbsp. of the rice filling in the center of each leaf. Fold sides over filling and, starting with end closest to you, roll leaf to encase filling. Repeat to make 35–40 dolmades.
- Cover bottom of large wide pot with remaining leaves and arrange dolmades on top, seam side down, in a single layer. Pour in enough water to reach halfway up sides of dolmades; drizzle with remaining oil and lemon juice. Cover dolmades with a circular piece of parchment and top with a heatproof plate. Cover pot and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until dolmades are slightly plump, rice is cooked through, and most of the water has been absorbed, about 1 hour. Let dolmades cool to room temperature on a plate. Serve with yogurt.