There is a change in the air. The days are becoming shorter and the leaves are beginning to turn from green to the bright golden colors of fall. This means many different things to many people, but to me, it means comfort food.
Time to begin thinking about warm hearty meals such as casseroles and soups. I’m kicking-off comfort food season with tender, tasty stuffed-grape leaf rolls known as Dolmathes (dol-MAH-thes).
Within the Greek cuisine realm, Dolmathes are commonly stuffed with meat and rice and served as a main entrée with a delicious egg-lemon sauce.
I’m serving them up as a meze, or appetizer, and filling them with Mahatma Whole Grain Brown Rice, vegetables, pine nuts and fresh herbs as a healthier alternative. Using brown rice only adds about 15 minutes to the cooking process but the nutty flavor of the Mahatma Whole Grain Brown Rice is enhanced by the pine nuts and helps to make these Dolmathes really delicious.
These little wrapped goodies can be served up warm or cold, with lots of lemon juice or just a little, depending on how you like them. They may seem like a lot of work, but once you get the method of rolling you can work pretty fast, and the end result is something to be proud of.
I happen have plenty of experience with rolling dolmathes. As a child, I would take leaves from my father’s fig tree, make a simple mud-mixture of dirt and water and roll dolmathes in my back yard play kitchen. This grown-up version of Dolmathes tastes much better than my mud Dolmathes… trust me. :)
1 – 16 ounce jar of grape leaves (about 50 grape leaves. Brined grape leaves are packed by weight so quantity may vary.)
¼ cup olive oil, plus more for roasting pan/Dutch oven
¼ cup olive oil, for just before baking
1 medium onion, chopped fine
1 clove of garlic, chopped fine
1- teaspoon salt
¼ cup pine nuts
1-cup corn, fresh or frozen
1-cup green bell pepper, chopped fine
½ tablespoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 ½ cups Mahatma Whole Grain Brown Rice
4 cups vegetable stock (or chicken to add a little more flavor)
1-cup water, divided
1-cup sundried tomatoes, diced
¼ cup fresh mint, chopped fine
¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped fine
juice of 1 lemon
Lemon slices for baking
Lemon wedges for serving
- Rinse each leaf well with water to remove brine. Trim the large stem off each leaf, set aside in a colander.
- In a large skillet over medium high heat, sauté onions in olive oil until translucent.
- Add garlic, salt and black pepper. Sauté for about 2 minutes.
- Add pine nuts, corn, green pepper, oregano. Sauté for about 2 minutes.
- Add rice and stir to coat with oil.
- Add 1 cup of vegetable stock. Cook until the stock is absorbed, stirring frequently.
- Add 1 more cup of vegetable stock. Cook until the stock is absorbed, stirring frequently.
- Add ½ cup water. Cook until the water is absorbed, stirring frequently.
- Stir in sundried tomatoes, mint, and parsley. Remove from heat.
- Prepare to roll dolmathes by setting up your work surface with the mixture, leaves, and plenty of space to roll. Spread a little olive oil on the bottom and sides of a roasting pan or Dutch oven. Line the roasting pan or Dutch oven with grape leaves (use the broken and torn leaves for this.)
- Place a leaf with the raised veins and stem towards you on a flat surface.
- Place 1 tablespoon of filling in the bottom center of the leaf, just above the stem.
- Fold the bottom section up to cover the filling.
- Fold the sides in towards the center.
- Continue rolling the packet up toward the top point of the leaf.
- Place the rolls seam-side down in tight layers in the roasting pan or Dutch oven.
- Repeat until the filling and leaves are all used.
- Add 1/4 cup olive oil, 2 cups vegetable stock and ½ cup water to cover the rolls. Cover the rolls with extra grape leaves and lemon slices.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour, 15 minutes or until the rice is cooked tender.
- Serve with fresh lemon wedges or sprinkle with lemon juice.
I was compensated by Riviana Foods, Inc., to create a recipe featuring their product. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting this sponsor that allows me the opportunity to create content, such as this, for Figs & Feta.
©2014 by Alexandra Salidas Roll, Figs & Feta, LLC.
Recipe and photos by Alexandra Salidas Roll of Figs & Feta, LLC. Please do not reprint this recipe without permission. If you would like to feature this recipe on your blog or site, please rewrite the method of preparation and link your post to this one as the original source. Thank you!