Makes 50-60 dolmades:
16 ounces grape leaves from a jar, rinsed, drained, and stems removed
3/4 cup olive oil
2 pounds ground lamb (or 1 pound ground lamb plus 1 pound ground beef)
1 cup rice, uncooked
1 onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
16 ounces water or chicken broth
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
1 teaspoon dried crushed oregano
1 teaspoon salt
freshly ground pepper to taste
1/2 cup freshly lemon juice
In a large mixing bowl, combine the ground meat, salt, pepper, herbs and mix well. Add the rice and mix until well 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.
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 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 simmer and cook about 40-60 minutes or until the rice is tender.
There will still be some liquid in the pot. Allow to cool for at least 30 minutes and the juices will be absorbed.
Plate and drizzle some olive oil over them. Serve with delicious tzatziki sauce.
Makes 4 Burgers:
pita bread or hamburger buns (4)
For the burger meat:
1 pound ground lamb 80/20
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh mint
2 cups chopped Chinese eggplant or any eggplant, peeled and cut into cubes
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
For the caramelized onions:
1 red onion, sliced
3-4 tablespoons olive oil
pinch of salt
pinch of sugar
1-2 tablespoons good quality balsamic vinegar
crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
Toppings and condiments: tzaztiki sauce, ketchup, sliced tomatoes, bell peppers, pickles, feta, French fries
Place the chopped and peeled eggplant in a small pan with some olive oil and salt. Cook over medium heat about 10 minutes until very soft, turning to cook evenly. When the eggplant begins to absorb the oil and the pan is dry add water, enough to just coat the bottom of the pan. Keep adding water as is needed a little at a time so that the eggplant cooks softly. It should not become caramelized or crisp. This way it will melt into the burgers completely. Allow the eggplant to cool completely.
Place the onion slices in another pan with olive oil, salt and sugar. Cook about 10-12 minutes until soft and caramelized around the edges. Add the balsamic vinegar and crushed red pepper flakes if desired, stir well and remove from heat. Set aside.
Combine the ground lamb, salt, herbs, and spices in a bowl. Mix well to incorporate.
Add the cooled cooked eggplant and mix well, mashing it into the meat until well incorporated.
Add the crumbled feta and mix it without completely melting it into the burger meat. a few chunks should remain throughout the burgers.
Divide the meat into 4 equal portions. Form the burger patties. I used my 4 inch round cookie cutter to help form the burgers.
Heat up a cast iron grill pan on high heat. Brush some oil onto it. Place the burgers on the grill. Do not crowd the pan.
Grill the burgers for 5 minutes on each side for a medium well hamburger. Allow the burgers to rest 1-2 minutes after they are grilled so that they remain juicy.
Brush the buns with some of the oil from the onions and heat on the grill pan until heated through.
Place the burger on the warm bun, top with the caramelized onions and your favorite condiments. My tzaztiki (yogurt and cucumber) recipe is a must with these!
Makes 6-8 servings:
1 medium onion, quartered
1 pound ground lamb
1 pound ground beef
4-5 garlic cloves
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon cumin powder
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
Equipment: 9 x 5 inch loaf pan
For the Sandwiches:
Crumbled feta cheese
Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit, 163 degrees Celsius.
Place the garlic cloves in a food processor and pulse until very finely chopped.
Add onion and puree until smooth.
Add ground beef with all of the spices. Pulse until the mixture becomes like a paste. Scrape down the sides of the bowl in between pulses.
Place the mixture in a loaf pan. Compact it as much as possible.
Bake for 45 minutes till 1 hour.
Allow the pan to cool at room temperature completely. Refrigerate at least 2 hours before removing from the pan.
Remove from pan onto a cutting board. Using a sharp serrated knife, slice it thinly. Pour all of the pan juices over the slices along with any of the fat that has gelatinized. It adds so much flavor when heating it up for the sandwiches.
At this point the gyro slices can be placed in a freezer safe bag and frozen for future use.
To make the Gyro sandwiches, place a cast iron pan over medium heat and cook the gyro slices until they are browned on both sides.
Warm the pita bread slightly. Place some chopped lettuce, onion and tomato slices over the pita, the warm gyro slices and tzatziki sauce with crumbled feta. Serve immediately. Enjoy!
5 lamb shanks
1 large onion, finely chopped
¼ cup olive oil
5-6 garlic cloves, chopped
1 (15 ounce) can pureed tomatoes
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 cinnamon stick
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon dry crushed oregano
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
4 cups water
1 pound uncooked orzo
1 and ½ teaspoons salt
3 cups boiling hot water
Garnish: feta cheese, parsley, freshly grated parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit, 232 degrees Celsius.
Drizzle a very small amount of olive oil over lamb shanks and season with salt and pepper on both sides. Roast in preheated oven for 35 minutes until they become nicely browned. This step eliminated the need to brown on the stove top.
While the lamb is browning in the oven prepare the sauce.
In a heavy bottomed pot, cook the chopped onions with the oil over medium heat for about 15 minutes or until soft and golden. Add the chopped garlic and cook another 5 minutes over low heat until golden and soft.
Add the pureed canned tomatoes, salt, pepper and spices. Add 4 cups of water and bring to a boil.
Once the lamb is browned, remove from oven.
Pour the tomato sauce over the lamb. Cover the tray with foil and return to oven to cook for 1 hour at 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
After 1 hour, reduce the temperature to 375 degrees Fahrenheit, 191 degrees Celsius and continue to cook for 1 hour and 20 minutes or until the meat is falling off the bone.
Remove from oven and taste the sauce. Adjust the seasoning if it needs more salt.
Bring 3 cups of water to a boil.
Place the uncooked orzo into the lamb and sauce and mix. Add the 3 cups of boiling hot water along with 1 and ½ teaspoons salt. Mix well to incorporate.
Return the pan to the oven and bake at 425 degrees Fahrenheit, 218 degrees Celsius for 15 minutes, covered with foil.
Remove foil and cook 10 minutes uncovered.
Take the baking pan out of the oven and pour 1 cup of ice into it to stop the orzo from cooking. Mix it carefully. This will keep the orzo from overcooking and becoming gelatinous or mushy. It also adds to the sauce.
Garnish with freshly chopped parsley, crumbled feta or grated parmesan cheese.
4 and 1/2 pounds boneless leg of lamb, fat trimmed and cut into big chunks
1 large onion, finely diced
4-5 cloves peeled garlic
1 celery stalk, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 (28 ounce) can pureed tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
salt and freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon paprika
1 tablespoon honey
1 bay leaf
6-8 cups water
3/4 cup - 1 cup orzo pasta
(optional: beans, chick peas instead of orzo)
3 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
1 tablespoon finely chopped mint
Crumbled feta or shredded parmesan cheese for garnish
In a large pot, heat olive oil until very hot. Add the lamb chunks in three batches and brown evenly on all sides. About 4 minutes. Do not add all the meat together at once or it will not brown. Place the browned meat onto a plate and set aside.
Add the onions and garlic cloves to the pot and cook over medium low heat for about 15 minutes or until soft and golden. Mash the garlic cloves once they are soft. This eliminates the extra step of mincing garlic.
Add the meat back to the pot along with the carrots, celery, salt, pepper, crushed red pepper flakes, oregano, paprika, honey, pureed tomatoes, tomato paste, and water. Bring to a boil.
Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook about 1 and ½ hours or until the meat is soft.
Add more water to the pot. About 4 cups and bring to a boil.
Add the orzo along with a teaspoon of salt and any extra seasonings if needed. Boil approximately 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cook until the orzo is al dente.
Add the chopped parsley and mint. Taste and season with salt and pepper if necessary.
Serve with some toasted bread and feta.
Tips: This meal can be prepared a day ahead. If making ahead of time, do not add orzo. The orzo may be added right before serving to avoid overcooking it.
Make extra as it freezes beautifully.
As it sits in the pot it thickens. You may add about ½ -1 cup of boiling water when reheating this soup to keep its consistency soup –like.
1 pound boneless lamb leg or shoulder, cut into small chunks
1/8 cup balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup olive oil
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
black pepper to taste
1/4 small onion, sliced
For the Vegetable Skewers:
7-8 baby portabello mushrooms (button or crimini can be substituted) about 8 ounces in weight
1 medium onion, cut into chunks
8 ounces cherry or grape tomatoes
salt and pepper
skewers (if using wooden, soak in water at least 30 minutes before grilling)
Begin by trimming any excess fat off the lamb and then cut into small chunks to fit your skewers. About 1 inch. Place in a large bowl.
Place all of the seasoning ingredients, oil and vinegar over the meat. Mix well to coat. Add sliced onions over the meat and mix well with your hands.
Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 8 hours to allow the meat to absorb all the wonderful flavors and so that it tenderizes beautifully.
take the marinated meat out of the refrigerator and allow it to come to room temperature before grilling. (NEVER place cold meat on a hot grill).
Heat your grill. If using a grill pan, heat over medium-low heat.
Prepare your vegetable skewers.
Clean the mushrooms by wiping with a damp towel and remove the stems. The stems can be frozen in an a freezer bag for later use in soups or stuffing.
Place the mushrooms and onion chunks in a large bowl and drizzle with olive oil. Season with salt, pepper and oregano. Toss to coat.
Do the same with the tomatoes.
Thread the tomatoes on skewers.
Thread the mushrooms and onions on skewers as well.
Thread the marinated lamb on skewers.
Place the veggie skewers and the lamb skewers on the hot grill and cook for about 15 minutes, rotating the skewers every 3 minutes.
Brush the veggie skewers with any oil that is left in the bowl they were seasoned in. This will help them char.
Warm the pita bread and place onto a plate. Place the grilled lamb over the pita and serve with the grilled vegetables and tzatziki sauce.
Nothing is more "Greek" than this dish!! My favorite way to eat lamb is the way my dad makes it every Easter; on the spit with lots of ladolemono (lemony olive oil dressing). Since, I don't have a spit and my dad lives in N.Y (very sad face), I roast my lamb in the oven, which is WAY easier.... I like to roast the lamb with potatoes. They soak up all that delicious flavor and are to die for. Plus, that way all I have to do is toast some bread and put a nice salad together and just like that, dinner is served!
Hi, I'm Dimitra and welcome to my blog! Here, I'll teach you just how much fun and easy it is to please a crowd with my versions of Greek classics. Kali Orexi as we say in Greek!