Stuffed rolled grape leaves, also known as dolmades, are a popular Middle Eastern and Mediterranean appetizer made by wrapping a mixture of spiced rice and/or ground meat in grape leaves. The filling can vary depending on the region and personal preference, but typically includes rice, onions, herbs like parsley and mint, and sometimes ground meat like lamb or beef. Vegetarian options may omit the meat and add additional vegetables or legumes like chickpeas.
To make stuffed rolled grape leaves, first, the grape leaves need to be prepared by blanching them in boiling water or brine to soften them and remove any bitterness. Then, the filling is prepared by sautéing onions and garlic and mixing them with the rice, herbs, spices, and any meat or vegetables. A small spoonful of the filling is then placed on each grape leaf, and the leaf is rolled up tightly around the filling, creating a small, compact package. The stuffed grape leaves are then arranged in a pot, often in layers, and covered with water or broth to cook for a period of time until the filling is fully cooked.
Stuffed rolled grape leaves can be served warm or cold, often with a side of yogurt or a dipping sauce like tzatziki. They are a flavorful and versatile dish that can be enjoyed as an appetizer, side dish, or main course.