Dolmades are traditionally made using vine leaves but they can also be made using silverbeet or chard leaves. They are easy to make and the silverbeet gives a sweet taste to the dolmades. Each silverbeet leaf makes one dolmades. Choose tender medium sized leaves to give a uniform result but even a mixture of different sized leaves can be made up successfully and fitted together in the cooking pot.
For the rice stuffing:
- 1 onion chopped
- 2 tblsp oil
- I can chopped tomatoes
- 1 tblsp tomato paste
- 25 mint leaves
- small bunch of parsley finely chopped
- 1 cup medium grain rice
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
(you can use any other seasonings that you may like to to flavour the rice)
- Fry the onion in the oil until soft, about 5 mins
- Add the chopped tomatoes, and 1 tblsp of tomato paste stirring it in well
- Add the mint leaves, salt and pepper
- Add a cup of chicken or vegetable stock
- Cook for about 15 minutes on a medium heat
- Stir in a cup of rice adding a little water if too dry.
- Cook for 10 mins, stirring often to prevent the rice from sticking. Mixture should be just dry.
- Take off the heat and stir in 1/2 cup of grated parmesan cheese
To make the Silverbeet Dolmades:
- Wash the silverbeet or chard leaves well and remove the stalks up to the leaf
- Blanch a leaf at a time in boiling water
- Place a tablespoon of the rice stuffing at about 2cm from the bottom of the leaf
- Cover the rice by rolling the bottom portion of the leaf up over the rice
- Then fold the outer edges of the leaf over the rice and roll up fully
- Place the roll around the edge of a large pot in concentric circles to fully cover the bottom of the pan tightly (as shown in the picture below). A second row can be placed on top of this if you have enough ingredients.
- Place a flat ceramic plate inverted over the top in a size that will cover the bed of dolmades to stop them moving while cooking.
- Make a sauce out of 2 tablespoons of tomato paste, the juice of about 2 lemons, 1 cup hot water and 1 tsp oil, salt and pepper. This will make a thin sauce that is well coloured. If you have 2 layers add another cup of water and an extra 1/2 teaspoon of oil. Check for seasoning.
- Pour over the dolmades. The liquid should just come to the top layer of dolmades.
- Bring the pot to the boil then reduce heat to a simmer and cook covered for about 35 mins.
- When cooked take the pot off the heat and set aside for a while. Most of the liquid should be absorbed by the dolmades any remaining will be absorbed after standing.
Serve with tzatziki dip and a nice salad. They can also be placed on a baby Cos leaf making a crunchy, tasty easy to pick up finger food.