Grape Leaves Stuffed with Rice and Raisins

(Dolmades)

This recipe for meatless dolmades is based on one used at home by author Diane Kochilas.

Grape Leaves Stuffed with Rice and Raisins
This is a recipe for dolamades, an eastern European specialty.
Yield: serves 6

Ingredients

  • 23 cup extra-virgin olive oil, preferably Greek
  • 1 large red onion, finely chopped
  • 12 cup uncooked long-grain rice, rinsed and drained
  • 13 cup finely chopped fresh mint leaves
  • 14 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 14 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted
  • 14 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

Instructions

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.