DOLMADAKIA AVGOLEMONO: GRAPELEAVES IN A LEMONY SAUCE
- 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.
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