So I’ve had this ginormous jar of stuffed grape leaves sitting on my shelf for about a year and a half. I’d really wanted to make dolmades (stuffed grape leaves), but whenever I thought to do it, I realised I didn’t have all of the ingredients, and didn’t have nearly enough drive for such an endeavor. So the grape leaves sat, as the eons passed slowly by, until a day occurred recently where I was like “Gee, I wish I had a way to efficiently get as much olive oil into my body as possible without using any utensils at all!” And I knew it was time to finally make the dolmades.
I followed this recipe. Well, more or less followed it. I had all of the pertinent ingredients, see. Just not enough of some of them. First off, I knew I had lemon, I just failed to see if I had sufficient lemon. Which I didn’t. But I also managed to use 1/2 the beef it called for (just 1 lb) as well as 1/2 the onion called for (one instead of two). I padded it out though with a bunch of chopped parsley. Quite obliviously, I forgot to add the pepper as well. The flavor ended up being a bit blander then I’d like, but the texture was perfect, and I compensated for the lacking flavor by getting more lemon juice and squirting it on top, and then sprinkling on pepper. This made the dolmades quite ideal.
Wrapping these wee bastards wasn’t too bad. A rather lengthy process, mind you, but after having wrapped all sorts of things in my life, they seemed to hold together rather well. I soaked the grape leaves in hot water, then cold water, which was supposed to cut down on the bitterness. It does not, however, cut down on their smelling like vinegary leaves, as their stinkiness caused Drew to retreat to another part of our apartment for the duration of my making these guys.
The cooking process is interesting. You line the pot with extraneous grape leaves for bonus padding and to prevent any of the dolmades from burning. There were plenty of extra grape leaves for this, and in fact there is still a giant wad of them sitting in my fridge, waiting for me to figure out what the heck to do with the rest of them. Anyhow, then you pad all the little dolmades into the pot, dump in some bonus broth to ensure moistness, and stick a pot on top of them to compress them all together. Lucky for me, I actually had a pot that fit perfectly inside another pot.
This made so many of them. Like, giant piles and piles of dolmades. I took a container of them to a cookout last night, and they all disappeared quickly. And I still have piles of them, and will be eating them for quite some time. Which isn’t a problem, mind you, as I find them quite tasty. I made Drew taste one, but alas, it was not to his liking. I think he was still traumatized by the wafting scent of vinegar leaves invading his personal space and such.
In any case, for the next several days all my meals will be of the “______ with a side of dolmades” variety. Mmmm, olive oil-tastic!