Traditional Albanian Stuffed Vine Leaves (Dolma Japrak)

These refreshing rolled vine leaves stuffed with minced lamb, onions, rice, herbs, and seasonings are simmered until tender and delicious. 
‘Dolma’ means stuffed vegetables and although grapevine leaves are most popular in Albanian you can also stuff any form of Greens (Cabbage is most popular), Onions, Peppers, Aubergines, Squash, Tomatoes, and Courgettes.
Making this traditional Albanian recipe out of season, vine leaves are often needed to be brought from Mediterranean food shops, so as a replacement you can try cabbage leaves – they are just as tasty. Make sure you let the whole cabbage sit in boiling water for about 10 minutes before gently peeling back the leaves so they don’t break.
You can also boil stuffed leaves in a tomato-based sauce too and cabbage leaves work best for this.

Traditional Albanian Stuffed Vine Leaves (Dolma Japrak)

 
Ingredients
·         600 g Pickled Grape Leaves
·         400 g Lamb Mince
·         5 Diced Onions
·         75 g Rice
·         1 tsp Pepper
·         1 tsp Paprika
·         1 tsp Dried Vegetable Stock
·         25 g Chopped Parsley
·         1 Tsp Basil
·         Olive Oil
·         Optional Salt
·         2 Liters Boiling Water
Instructions:
Preparation:
Add the onions to a sauté pan and fry for 5 minutes in olive oil until the onions start to brown.
Turn off the heat and add the meat, rice, pepper, paprika, vegetable stock, parsley and basil. Mix all the ingredients together.
Carefully unwrap the vine leaves. Place one vine leaf on your hand with the base on the bottom of your palm and the point pointing towards the top. Add a second vine leaf with the point pointing downwards and base of the leaf at the top of your fingers. there should be a good overlap. You can do this on a flat surface if preferred.
Place a spoonful of the meat and rice mixture in the middle of the leaves. Fold the bottom of the leaf over the mixture, fold in both sides and the roll the leaf upwards sealing in the mixture into a parcel shape.
Layer a layer of vine leaves covering the bottom of a deep saucepan and then add the vine leaf parcel on top.
Make as many vine leaf parcels as the meat and rice mixture will make adding each one to the saucepan. Pack the parcels side by side util the saucepan is covered, then start another layer on top.
Cooking:
Pour into the saucepan enough boiling water to just cover the top of the vine leaves and bring to a boil. Leave to simmer with a lid on for 1.5 hours. All water should be absorbed however top up with a little extra boiling water if this happens before the time is up.
Serving:
Remove from the saucepan and leave to cool for 10 minutes before serving.
Nutritional information:
        Calories 79
        Sugar 3g
        Sat Fat 1.6g
        Fat 5.2g
        Protein 2.8g
        Carbs 5.5g
        Serving 1/32

 

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