|Stuffed vine leaves with ground beef and rice|
But the fresh leaves are tender and melt in your mouth. Their sour taste raises the usually indifferent ground beef and make them memorable.
For a few days a year, April and May, when I find fresh leaves in the market, I wash, drain and put them in the freezer. From there directly to scalding and I have fresh leaves for another three months at least. I like to stuff them with a mixture of ground beef and rice but there is also the vegetarian alternative, only with rice.
For 4 people we need:250 grams of grape leaves
1 large onion, chopped1 1/2 cup of olive oil 1 cup of rice300 grams of ground beef1 shot of ouzo (optional)1 cup warm watersalt, pepper, a handful of fresh mint, choppedthe juice of a large lemon
Wash the leaves and add little by little in salted boiling water. Let stand 3 minutes, then put into a bowl with cold water. Once you finish the process put them in a colander until you prepare the filling.
In a small bowl put the minced meat, onion, rice, 1/2 cup oil, mint, salt, pepper and ouzo. Mix to make a mixture soft enough, and if necessary add a little water.
With a spoon take a bit stuffing and place on the base of the leaf. Fold both ends and then wrap them in a
roll. The truth is that at the beginning it needs a little effort to get down to the point but after the 4th or 5th dolmadaki you'll have no problem.
We throw the remaining oil to the pot and place each dolmadaki in concentric circles from the outside to the center. Depending on our pot we will make one or two layers.
Sprinkle with a little more oil to the surface and cover into the pot with a plate upside down. This will help to keep them firmly in place and not unfold with cooking. Add enough hot water to reach the middle of the dish, cover the pot and simmer for about half an hour.
Once ready, remove from heat and pour the lemon juice. Cover again and leave to cool completely. So it is better to start cooking early.
We can accompany with extra egg-lemon sauce or even with tzatziki.
You can find the recipe in Greek here.