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A Year of Slow Cooking

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

CrockPot Dolmas Recipe

Day 344.

Jessica emailed me a few weeks ago and asked if I had a crockpot dolmas recipe. I didn't, but I do now! These are super easy, fun to make, and even more fun to eat. I was floored at how many my kids ate---they really liked them a lot.

The Ingredients.

1 jar grape leaves (8oz of leaves, in juice, near the pickles)
1/2 pound ground lamb
1/2 pound ground turkey breast
1 cup cooked white rice
1/2 cup chopped parsley
2 lemons
1 egg
1 tsp allspice
1 tsp dill

The Directions.

I used a 6 quart crockpot, anything 4 quarts and up would work just fine. I got this recipe after putting a few together from this website according to the flavors I thought my family would enjoy, and from how I remember dolmas to taste. I really think there's no wrong or right way to do these, it's like meatloaf--everyone has their own version.

In a mixing bowl, combine the ground meat, rice, egg, spices, and juice from one lemon. Mix well with your hands to combine.

Drain and rinse the grape leaves.

Put a small amount of meat mixture into each grape leave, and roll to form a little packet. I'm pretty sure the vein-y part of the leaf is supposed to be inside, with the shiny side facing out. I didn't do this at first, but they do roll better if done that way. Place the wrapped packet into your crockpot. Repeat, until you run out of filling or leaves. It's okay to stagger-stack the dolmas in the crockpot.

I was able to make 24 before I ran out of filling. My crockpot could easily have handled another 24.

Squeeze the juice from the other lemon over the top of the dolmas. Cover and cook on high for 2-3 hours, or until the meat is fully cooked. Mine were done right at 2 hours.

The Verdict.

These are so fun! We ate them as a meal, with leftover winter root vegetables. The kids liked them a lot, but one of them unrolled the leaf and just ate the filling, which was totally fine with me. I'm looking forward to making them again to serve to company.
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SaraK said...

I love making different things for company, these look delicious!

Brenna Kater, the Oceanskater said...

Wow, you are brave! Pretty soon, you'll have a whole Middle eastern meal full of appetizers! Have you done crockpot hummus yet?

Lissaloo said...

Luv Hummus! That has my vote, please, please :)

paisleyapron said...

WOW. I can't believe you made these in the crockpot! I am so excited. Now maybe I don't have to buy canned ones anymore. Bravo!

Anonymous said...

I love dolmas- This is such a great idea to do them in the crockpot - you rock. My family makes them with brown rice and fresh dill and parsley to boost the nutritional value even more, but they haven't been made in the crockpot before - until now. What helps in keeping the dolmas packed/shaped tightly is if you weight them down when you cook them. In the stove top version I put a heatproof plate on top of the dolmas to pack them down. Will try the same with the crockpot. Oh I can hear the Greek ladies tut tutt tutting right now :)

Cooking Fool said...

These sound awesome. I am thinking they might be good with a chopped tomato sauce over them.....almost like a cabbage roll?

Onepony2002 said...

Looking at the picture of ingredients, I saw the parsley and immediately thought of all the kale I have growing in my garden (actually peapatch)and wondered if - instead of buying grape leaves in a jar - I could use kale leaves to wrap the dolmas.

What are the grape leaves pickled in? Do they need to be pickled before use, or are they simply preserved that way in order to get them to us? Does anyone know?

Zimms Zoo said...

I have never heard of them or had them. I live a sheltered life I guess. I think that these would be fun to try.

trucksr4gurls said...

yum! i think i would probably have to make a double batch if i was going to be expected to share lol

Mama Cat said...

I've made Dolmas in my cp before too - with fresh grape leaves! I have a Concord grape vine in my back yard so I have a ready source of grape leaves in the spring. So tasty, and an exotic change of pace from the every-day. Here in New Jersey they are extremely common diner fare, on every salad bar (if the diner has one), served with Greek salads (ubiquitous in our diners because many are run by Greek families), etc.

Jaz DeWills said...

Oh! Yumyumyum! Now we need a crockpot avgolemono sauce to go with them!

foodiechickie said...

I will totally have to try this. I grew up eating Dolma.

ollie said...

Okay, this question has nothing to do with today's recipe, but I'm going to ask anyway! :-)

I keep reading in books that veggies in the crockpot tend to stay hard if you don't put them in the bottom of the crockpot. I have NEVER had this happen. I always stick them on top (whole potatoes and all) and they come out perfectly. Is this just an urban myth, or does this actually happen to people??? When I put my veggies on the bottom, they turn out super soggy!

Gayle said...

I LOVE Dolmas!! Thank you for sharing this recipe. =)

Crockpot Lady said...

onepenny, they are packed in salt water, and I rinsed that off, anyhow. The lemon juice and dill is what mostly gives dolmas a briny flavor. I think the kale will work quite well!

ollie, I agree. I think the initial guidelines were for when people really liked mushy vegetables. Our tastes have grown up!

Kim said...

Dolmas! Yum! Thank you, this will be so much fun!

Erin Sales said...

I love dolmas, and it used to be the only place in town I could get them was at a little health food store that closed down. Now I can make my own!! Mmm I can't wait! Thank you!!!!!!!!!!!

momoffour said...

These sound really good. I'm not sure if they sell grape leaves here in the midwest, but now I want to make cabbage rolls in the slow cooker. Only problem is I know I will obsess about whether the meat is done or not - any tips?

p.s. I love your blog!!

Crockpot Lady said...

Hi momoffour---I did make some earlier in the year, and they turned out beautifully. CrockPot Cabbage Rolls.

Patricia said...

ooo! ooo! ooo! I NEED these when pregnant, but now I won't have to spend an arm and leg getting them. =) Thanks!
(I wonder how it'll work without the egg.)

Dawne said...

Dumb question here... Is the rice precooked, or uncooked in the mixture?

Marita said...

I really enjoyed the ones I made in the crockpot using Silverbeet / Chard. They were delicious.

Miss Katharine said...

Yum! I cannot wait to make these! Thanks for sharing (as always)!

Anonymous said...

I would love to try this but I like mine cooked in chicken broth, then I use the chicken broth in the avgolemono sauce I make to go over them. My Greek dh would have a fit if I made them without the sauce LOL

I may try it with enough chicken broth to cover, raw rice and a heavy plate on top to weight them down (that's what I do when I simmer them on the stove).

I live in the midwest too and I find the jarred grape leaves in only a few of my grocery stores. Sometimes in the produce section, sometimes in the ethnic food section.

Theresa in Mèrida said...

Thank you! I make dolmas all the time but never thought to put them in the crockpot! too cool!

Jane-Jane said...

oh...this sounds WONDERFUL! my mouth is watering. can't wait to try these!!

EndureMyWorld said...

This is one of my favorite things to order when I go to Athens on 86th.
I was just thinking the other day that I should look for a recipe and here you are saving my day!!!

Anonymous said...

I thought you have to fill your crockpot with liquid up to 2/3 full or else stuff won't cook... do you not fill it with this recipe?

Crockpot Lady said...

Hi Anon,
nope, do not add any liquid. The rule of thumb is that the crock works best when it is 2/3-3/4 of the way full----but that isn't necessarily with liquid, just with stuff.

For instance, when I make a roast, I only add usually about 1/2 cup of liquid for a 3-5 lb roast. The meat makes it's own liquid.

For the dolmas, the moisture came from the grape leaves----although I added no water, when I removed the dolmas there was water at the bottom of the crock.


Leann I Am said... I made these the other day. They were GOOOOOOOOD!!! My family won't go near them and I'll end up eating them ALL by myself...even though I DOUBLED THE RECIPE! AAACKK!! Oh well, it's a stomach ache with a smile, that's for sure...

Anonymous said...

I made this recipe tonight, minus the parsley, and it was delicious. Thanks!!

Max mickle said...

That's a very colourful dish! Can tell that it's very yummy from its look. Suits the CNY mood also. :)

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