Dolmades (Stuffed Vine leaves) – Mario, The Miners Arms, Whitecroft.
20 / 40 Vine-leaves
1lb Ground Beef
½ Cup White Rice
Fresh or Dried Mint & Parsley
Salt & Pepper Seasoning
Passata / Tinned Tomatoes
2 / 3 Large Onions
Vegetarians – You can use just rice and herbs or soya based mince for added body.
Place the minced beef, rice egg, mint and parsley in a large bowl with seasoning and knead until thoroughly mixed. Having warmed the leaves in water to soften them lay them flat in preparation to roll.
Fold the mixture into the leaves ensuring the meat is completely sealed. Slice onion and lay at the bottom of the pot to ensure the dolmades do not stick. Arrange the dolmades fairly snugly into the pot and cover with tinned tomatoes or passata. Wrap a plate in foil and lay over the top. Simmer for 2 hours (check that the rice is cooked!!)
About the Leaves
Grape leaves are best picked from Grape Vines in the Spring while they are still tender. They can be washed and frozen between layers of waxed paper and will keep for a year. They are also available from continental shops and in jars. Smaller leaves tend to be more tender but bigger ones are quicker! Boil grape leaves until they are soft, but not tender. The time will depend on the leaves. Fresh ones will only take a minute. Leaves in jars with brine will only need a couple of minutes.