I came up with this variation of dolmades when I was going to a dinner party where I knew some of the guests did not eat meat. The combination of sweet raisins, spices, and toasted nuts was a hit. Since then I have made this dish on several other occasions, and it always proves to be a crowd pleaser.
Active Time: 25 min Total Time: 45 min
1 cup uncooked rice (preferably Uncle Ben’s)
2 cups water
1 ¼ cup vegetable broth
1/2 cup olive oil
1 cup yellow onion (diced)
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
1 ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 teaspoon clove
1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 jar grape leaves, drained
Preheat the oven to 350 and toast the pine nuts for 5 minutes.
In a pot, bring the water to a boil. Add the rice and cook for 30 minutes, or until tender. After 20 minutes, add the chicken broth.
In a separate pot, sauté the onion and 1/4 cup of olive oil over medium heat. Cook until the onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the raisins, pine nuts, fresh herbs, orange zest and spices. Once the rice is cooked, add the onion mixture and the salt. Cook for several minutes to combine flavors. Cool slightly.
Meanwhile, drain the jar of grape leaves. Lay the leaves flat, with the tip of the leaf pointing towards you. Place 1-2 tablespoons of the rice in the upper center of the leaf. The exact amount will depend upon the size of the leaf. You don’t want so much filling that you can’t tightly roll the grape leaf. To fold, wrap the upper edges of the leaf over the filling. Fold the sides in towards the center of the leaf. Tightly roll towards you, tucking in the edges as you go. Place the rolled dolmas onto a platter. To serve, drizzle with the remaining olive oil and sprinkle some coarse sea salt on top. Serve at room temperature or slightly warm, but not hot.