Dolmades (Stuffed Grape Leaves)
Submitted by: Heather Anne from Milwaukee, WI
Yield: Makes 40-50 rolls about the size of a big thumb.
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Make rice a day ahead of time. Use 1½ cups Botan Extra Fancy Calrose Medium Grain Rice or any other fat, sticky, shorter-grain rice and 3 cups water. Bring to a boil and simmer covered for 20-30 minutes, so it is fully cooked. Chill until you use it.
Wash chicken wings and chop off the large drumette portions. Freeze drumettes for later use. Arrange the remaining two-joint pieces in the bottom of a large dutch oven covering the bottom. I use my heavy Wagner Ware No. 9 Drip-Drop Round Roaster with the trivet.
Open the jar of grape leaves and carefully unfold the leaves and put into a bowl of cold water. Rinse the brine out of the leaves and leave them in fresh cold water to aid in unrolling or unsticking them as you fill each one.
Start heating a large kettle of clear, cold water. Meanwhile, thoroughly mix together (with your hands) the rice, ground lamb, garlic, coriander, 1 tsp salt and pepper. Try to get about equal amounts of meat and rice. Place a scant tablespoon of filling across a drained grape leaf. Fold the end of the leaf like an envelope and roll into a sausage shape. Place in pan, seam side down, on chicken wings. Repeat this process, packing the rolls together tightly, covering all the wings and starting second and third rows as needed. About half-way through, start preheating the oven to 350°. When all the rolls are in the roaster, add hot water to cover and sprinkle 1 tsp salt over top. (If you use the Greek grape leaves, you will use most of a jar. If you use the milder California grape leaves, you will use about half of the jar.)
Bake covered at 350° for 1 hour. During the last 15 minutes of cooking, sprinkle lemon juice and shallots over the top and re-cover.
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REHEATING FROZEN DOLMADES ALMOST BETTER THAN FRESH! ½ can chicken broth and ½ can fresh cold water 1 clove garlic, minced ½ tsp chicken fat ½ tsp freeze-dried shallots 2 pinches Mignonette pepper some MSG Bring all ingredients to a boil. Reduce heat to a low simmer, carefully add dolmades using tongs, return to a boil then immediately reduce heat. Simmer gently 10-20 minutes. Serve with lemon wedges and salt. Save broth. If the dolmades weren’t made with lemon juice to begin with, add a few drops to the broth. It is also a good broth to pour over cooked broken vermicelli. Make a soup with the leftover rice and used chicken wings, adding celery, carrots and onions. Freeze leftover dolmades which keep at least 6 months. The broth with the mingled flavors of chicken, lamb, grape leaves and lemon makes a divine cool drink after being strained, refrigerated, and de-fatted.