14 February 2008

Sharing Dolmades with Friends...

Dolmades with Avgolemono
Another beautiful day here in the Okanagan. After another long walk in the sunshine it is time to get cracking and make something comforting. Spring is coming at least for a fleeting moment. Blogging has taught me many things over the past year. The obvious pleasure is meeting new people from around the world and discovering new cuisines and ingredients, new twists on old favourites and innovative ideas. There are certain blogs that I am drawn to for their expertise. Anyone who has followed my blog knows that I am in LOVE with all things Greek!!! I hope you don't get tired of hearing about it after a while but part of the reason I blog is for my own pleasure and to record recipes I love for generations to come. Perhaps my grandchildren will be interested in my recipes some day...hint...hint...

 One of the first blogs I ever discovered was Peter, in Toronto...my old stomping grounds... at Kalofagas.

In reading Peter's blog this week I was excited to come across a new method of making dolmades that I had to try....cooking them in the oven!! I want to adopt his mom as well. The things she could teach me about Greek cooking would fill a book!!! Peter had to learn his art somewhere. I want you to adopt me as well Ivy...do you need a new sister???

There are no fresh grape leaves in the winter in the Okanagan, nor did I have any in the freezer, so, I opted for the grape leaves in jars this time around. Make sure that you soak them in water, changing the water a few times to remove the salty brine from the tender leaves. You can find Peters original recipe here complete with lip-smacking photos and step by step photographs.

For vegetarians please check out my previous post for Aglaia Kremezi's Dolmades Nistimi . I remember vividly eating these dolmades after a long hike to the ancient ruins at Karthea at a sea side picnic with grilled lamb chops and fish freshly caught from the sea.

The verdict....baking the dolmades in the oven is pure genius. They came out of the oven perfectly cooked...the avgolomeno sauce was light and delicate as it should be....

The talented Pixie over at You Say Tomato...I Say Tomato tried Peter's dolmades this week as well. Every Friday she is going to try a recipe from someone's blog....Kudos Pixie. Her dolmades look and probably tasted fantastic!!

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In keeping with the memories of Spring and the azure Agean Sea I served these dolmades with Aglaia Kremezi's Greek Lemon and Oregano Potatoes and her Cucumber Salad.


**Dolmades with Avgolemono**

Grape leaves are best picked 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 brined in jars. This is another delicious way to have dolmades.

1 jar preserved grape leaves, drained or 20 - 40 fresh
1/2 cup Basmati long-grain rice
1/4 cup plus 2 T olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 - 3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 lb lean ground beef or lamb
1 teaspoon dried oregano
salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 oz feta cheese, crumbled finely or grated
3 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
2 tablespoons finely chopped mint

Approximately 2 cups of chicken or vegetable stock

For Avgolomeno:

2 eggs
3 tablespoons lemon juice (1/2 lemon)
2 tablespoons flour

Carefully separate the grape leaves, place in a large bowl and pour boiling water over them to cover. Let the leaves soak for 20 minutes, then drain and rinse to remove excess salt. Fresh ones will take only a minute. Drain the leaves, snip off the stems (reserving stems) and lay the leaves on towel to dry.

Meanwhile, heat 2 T olive oil in a skillet, add the onion and saute until soft, about 3 - 5 minutes. Add the garlic and saute 1 more minute, until aromas are released. Add the lamb or ground beef and cook until the meat is well browned, breaking it apart with a fork while cooking, about 15 minutes. Add the oregano, and salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the feta and remove from the heat. Stir in the rice, parsley and mint.

Place one leaf on a flat surface, vein side up, shiny side down. Place a rounded teaspoon of filling in the centre of the leaf, near the stem edge. Fold the stem end over the filling, then fold both sides toward the middle, and form into a roll. Squeeze lightly in the palm of your hand to secure the roll. Repeat the process with remaining leaves and filling.

Peter says, "Place your Dolmadaki into a casserole dish, filling your casserole with Dolmadakia, side by side until the the bottom is completely covered. Continue layering the Dolmadakia until the casserole is filled with your parcels. Pour the stock into the casserole (enough to just cover the dolmades) and put the lid on the casserole (or cover) and place into a preheated 375F oven and cook for 60-70 minutes."

For the Avgolemeno

Peter says, "In a large bowl, beat eggs and flour with a fork or a whisk until they begin to get foamy, about 3 minutes. Add lemon juice in a steady stream, and continue beating for an additional minute. Add the hot cooking liquid (one ladle at a time) from the dolmathes, and beat for 1 minute more. Pour some sauce back into the casserole with the dolmathes and the rest into another medium pot.Stirring constantly, heat sauce over low heat for about 3 minutes (do not let it come to a boil. Adjust seasoning with salt."

Pour over the warm Dolmades or serve on the side.

You are reading this post on More Than Burnt Toast at http://morethanburnttoast.blogspot.com. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author/owner of More Than Burnt Toast. All rights reserved by Valerie Harrison. Best Blogger Tips


  1. I can imaginehow heavelny it all smells cooking inthe oven.

  2. I have never used Grape leaves, must try one day. In India, we steam in hte Banana leaves, it does smell so good. Enjoy. Happy V day to you!:)

  3. I've never made anything like this before, but I really need to reach outside of my comfort zone and try!

  4. My wife and I love dolmades! We'll always order them if they're on the menu, but for some reason, I never thought to try it myself. This looks like something I have to try--they look fantastic!

  5. Val...Bravo Kuria mou! You cook better than women who are born in Greece, really!

    I have an aunt and if her life teetered on her cooking a good meal, she'd be in the heavens right now.

    You know what's the difference? Passion...and you have it, koukla!

    Have a fab Valentine's.

  6. I was transported Glamah:D
    Please give them a try Asha, Deb & Mike. Don't restrict yourself to one recipe. Peter's is excellent as well as Aglaia's.

  7. Σας ευχαριστούμε πάρα πολύ Peter. Είναι μια ευχαρίστηση να υπάρξουν ως φίλο....no it's not a secret language :D. I hope it says Thank you Peter. It is a pleasure to have you as a friend.

  8. Those look good and sound tasty! I had bookmarked Peter recipe when I saw it as well. I am going to be looking for those jarred grape leaves so that I can try these.

  9. I've been nervous about working with grape leaves, (I think it comes from an old college boyfriend who was Lebanese and his mother scared me in the kitchen!) but your recipe has me inspired...I'll try! Thanks!

  10. What a great idea. I never cooked them in the oven. Happy Valentine!

  11. I absolutely adore Greek food, and could live on dolmades! Hope you had a fabulous Valentine's day!

  12. Val, Last night I checked on your blog but it seems you are posting when I am sleeping. It's morning here in Greece and you make me hungry with these dolmades of yours. Parsley and mint and EXCELLENT in dolmades. They make the difference. I will call you "sis" from now on and when you come to Greece again we will meet at my place and I will make dolmades for you.

  13. Your dolmades look wonderful, Well done!

  14. You know, I bleedin' love Greek food! This just reminds me how fantastic it is - simple, nourishing and packed with flavour. Hope life is good.

    David x

  15. I so love Greek food and there is not one decent spot to get it around here! I love Dolmades and may have to resort to making my own! You have inspired me once again!

  16. Wow Val! These dolmades look exquisite! I also saw Peter's, so I guess I have to look for the grape leaves and try my own!!! :D


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