In The Real Greek At Home by Theodore Kyriakou and Charles Campion they mention at some stage that there is no word for vegetarian in Greek, in my mother tongue (Afrikaans) we do have one, and we normally use it together with two other words, extensive and therapy, so when I decided to make dolmades, it was just natural that I would sneak some meat into it, not that this is a foreign idea to the Greeks, the Santorinian Dolmades in the above mentioned cookbook is made with lamb’s liver, so I guess it’s ok if I call my stuffed vine leafs dolmades as well.
2 red onions finely chopped
5 cloves garlic finely chopped
500g lamb mince
1 cub brown rice
1 cub water
1 tsp dry oregano
2 Tbls finely chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
2 Tbls finely chopped fresh mint
1 bunch spring onions finely chopped
1 lemon thinly sliced
300g vine leaves
1L chicken stock
Heat 100ml olive oil in a large casserole, brown the onions and garlic; then add the mince, season with salt and pepper and let the meat brown a little.
Add the rice, oregano and spring onion, and cook for a couple of minutes while you stir continuously. Add the water, cover and simmer until all the water is absorbed, the rice should be soft but not completely cooked.
Add the herbs, adjust the seasoning if necessary. Set aside to cool.
Lay each vine leaf on a flat service, with the under side (vein side) facing up. Cut away the stem. Put one Tbls of the lamb mixture into the leaf and form into a cylindrical shape. Fold the bottom of the leaf up, and then fold the two sides in, roll top over for a tight fit.
Pack the dolmades in a pot, so that they fit snugly. Spread the lemon slices over the dolmades and cover with the chicken stock and 50ml of olive oil. Place a plate on top to keep the dolmades submerged. Bring to the boil, then lower the heat and simmer for an hour.
Serve them hot or cold, and share with friends.