With my Macedonian heritage, I grew up eating all types of Eastern European and Middle Eastern food - let's just say I had an adventurous palate before the age of 5!
For this recipe, I actually foraged the grape leaves myself from a near by trail...so they really were - Vine to Table! You can pick your own or make it easy & buy at a local middle eastern store...or in the cultural foods aisle at your local grocery store. The most time consuming thing about this recipe is the rolling, but like many traditional dishes that involve a lot of rolling and stuffing (such as tamales, pasteles, etc), Many hands make light work ;) - if you pool your efforts - drop your phone and just spend some good time together cooking and talking...it'll be worth all the work!
3 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 cup diced onion (1 small onion)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt *
1 cup minced parsley
3/4 cup minced mint
1/2 cup minced green onions
1 cup uncooked medium grain rice, rinsed
2 tablespoons cooled, melted unsalted butter or extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
Heat a skillet over medium-high heat for about 2 minutes. Add the olive oil, mushrooms, onion, and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and stir. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until the onions have softened, Remove from heat.
Combine the parsley, cilantro, dill, green onions, medium grain rice, melted onion mixture and stir to combine.
wrapping and cooking
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 peeled russet potato, in 1/4 inch slices
About 50 medium grape leaves ***
1 1/4 cups boiling water
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon unsalted butter or extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup lemon juice
Coat the bottom of a 4-quart enameled dutch oven or stockpot with the olive oil, and then line it with the potatoes. (You may have a couple slices left over, depending on the width of your pot and size of your potato. Only make 1 layer).
Drape some of the grape leaves on the edge of the stuffing bowl, to get them ready to wrap.
Place a grape leaf flat on a cutting board, with the stem end pointing toward you, and the veiny side of the leaf facing up.
Roll the dolma like very small burritos (see the video above). Spoon about 1 tablespoon of filling near the stem of the grape leaf and roughly shape it into a sideways log, leaving a border around the sides. Wrap the stem-side up to cover about half of the filling, then fold the sides of the leaf in toward the center. Keeping the sides tucked in, roll the grape leaf away from you, putting a little pressure on it so that you end up with a snugly packed roll. The roll should be somewhat soft, but a little firm. It shouldn't feel like it's about to burst, but it should be fairly tightly packed.
Repeat with the remaining grape leaves and stuffing.
While you work, layer them over the potato slices, alternating the direction of the rolls whenever you start a new level.
Layer any remaining grape leaves over the top of the dolma
. Also feel free to add any clean leftover herb stems to the top of the grape leaves.
Add the 3/4 teaspoon of kosher salt and butter/oil to the boiling water and slowly pour over the grape leaves.
Take a ceramic heat-resistant plate and invert it over the dolma, gently pressing down to work out big air bubbles. It's ok if there is a gap between the plate and the sides of the pot.
Turn the heat to medium-high and bring the pot to a simmer. Once it is simmering, immediately reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and continue to simmer for 20 minutes. You should always hear water bubbling. If the bubbling suddenly stops, add 1/4 cup more water.
At the end of 20 minutes, add the lemon juice, cover, and continue to simmer for 25 minutes.
Once the 25 minutes have passed, keep the pot covered, remove from heat, and let it rest for at least 15 minutes.
Once you're ready to serve, either carefully invert the pot onto a plate For this, it's best to wait another 15 minutes) or serve it straight from the pot!
If you're serving to guests, remove the potatoes after inverting and save them for yourself for later!