- Makes about 30 grape leaves:
- 1 pound cut up lamb shoulder (with bone)
- 16 ounces grape leaves from a jar, rinsed, drained, and stems removed
- 3/4 cup olive oil
- 1 pound ground lean beef
- ½ cup rice, uncooked
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 4 cups water or chicken broth
- ½ cup chopped fresh parsley
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
- 1 teaspoon dried crushed oregano
- 1 teaspoon salt or to taste
- freshly ground pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup freshly lemon juice
- For the lemon sauce:
- 3 cups dolmades broth
- ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 and 1.2 tablespoons corn starch
- Salt, to taste
- ¼ - ½ teaspoon dried dill
Combine the onion with ¼ cup olive oil in a pot and cook over medium heat until soft and golden. About 10 minutes.
Combine the ground beef, herbs, rice, salt and pepper in a large mixing bowl and mix well. Add the cooked onions and the oil that they were cooked in. Mix until combined.
Rinse and dry the grape leaves. Cut the hard stem from each leaf. Reserve the smallest and the torn leaves to lay on bottom of pot.
Lay a grape leaf shiny side down and place a tablespoon of rice filling on the bottom end of the leaf, near the stem.
Fold the stem end of leaf over the filling. Fold the sides over and roll up snugly but not too tight. The rice will expand while cooking.
Repeat with all of the remaining grape leaves until your filling is done.
Layer half of the small and torn grape leaves to create a bed for the dolmades in a pot.
Season the lamb on both sides with salt and pepper and place in the pot along with the grape leaves.
Place the dolmades seam side down and very close together over the bed of leaves. Season lightly with salt and pepper.
Pour the olive oil and lemon juice over the dolmades.
Place the remaining reserved small leaves over the dolmades.
Pour the water or chicken stock over the dolmades.
Place an inverted plate over the dolmades to weigh them down and to prevent them from moving around and opening while cooking.
Cover with lid and bring to a boil.
Reduce to a simmer and cook about 45 minutes or until tender.
Carefully strain the liquid out of the pot into a pitcher. There should be 3 cups of liquid. Add more water or chicken broth if there’s not enough. Place the broth in a saucepan and bring to a boil.
Combine the egg yolks, cornstarch, lemon juice, and dill in a small bowl and whisk together until smooth.
Add some of the hot broth to the eggs and whisk well to temper.
Add the egg mixture to the pot and whisk to combine. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cook 2-3 minutes or until slightly thickened.
Either pour the sauce over the dolmades or pour some over them and serve the remaining sauce in a gravy boat alongside the dolmades with some lemon wedges.