David Tsirekas' Vine Dolmathes



40 vine leaves in brine
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 brown onion, finely chopped
1 tbsp grnd cumin
1 tbsp grnd cinnamon
1 tsp grn cloves
1 cup jasmine rice
salt & pepper to taste
1 cinnamon stick
1 bunch dill, roughly chopped
1 bunch parsley, roughly chopped
juice of 3 lemons
1 cup canned peeled tomato - blended
1 tbsp chopped garlic
2 cup water
1 lettuce


Rinse vine leaves and leave in colander to strain

Slowly heat a little olive oil in a pan, add onion and garlic stir and cook until soft. Add spices and cook until onions are coated. Add rice and stir thoroughly. Reduce the heat to low and stir. Season with salt and pepper and add chopped parsley and dill. Finally add the blended tomato and mix well. Set aside and let cool.

Oil a pot and place layers of any torn or unusually shaped vine leaves on bottom of pot.

Place leaves vein side up on workbench – as many as you can fit. Place a small spoon of mixture on each leaf on the bottom center. Fold the sides over to cover filling and hold sides in place while rolling from the bottom towards the top. Apply a little pressure but not too much or else they will tear. Place the rolled vine leaves seam side down in the pot making sure they fit tightly and snugly with each other. Place the cinnamon sticks in the centre of a couple of layers of dolmathes.

Sprinkle olive oil at each layer , and squeeze lemon juice over them too. Repeat until all vine leaves or mixture is used. Layer any leftover vine leaves over top and place a plate and a lid and add the water and bring to a gentle simmer. To test if they are ready carefully insert the tip of a paring knife into a dolmathe and remove a grain of rice. If its soft then they are ready. Set aside to cool.

Serve with a dollop of lemon and dill spiked strained yoghurt.


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