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Wrapped vine leaves (dolmathes) stuffed vine leaves with mincemeat

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Stuffed vine leaves in Greece are called ‘Dolmathes’ and in Cyprus ‘Koupepia’. They cook them differently in Cyprus,they like to use parsley , mint and ground cinnamon and they also fried the onions and mincemeat, but in Greece they like to use all the ingredients raw and they also like to use lots of herbs, dill , mint and parsley I love both methods, they both taste delicious,
Vine leaves are easily obtained in most supermarkets and delicatessens shops,not fresh unless you are in Greece or Cyprus in May or June, but you could get them in jars in brine or in sealed vacuum packs. The best time to obtain fresh vine leaves is at spring time and early summer, when the leaves are young and tender. You could also make Dolmathes using chard- leaves, spring greens or cabbage leaves.

RECIEPE: Serves 6-8

350g (12oz) Vine leaves fresh or preserved
For the filling
1 large onion, finely chopped 
700g (1 ½ lb.) mince lamb, beef or pork or mix
100g (4oz) short grain rice,(it absorbs more juice)
2 tbsp. tomato puree
2 medium tomatoes, finely chopped 
2 tbsp. olive oil
4-6tbsp. chopped parsley
4 -6tbsp. chopped dill or fennel
2 -4tbsp. chopped mint or 1tsp dry mint
½ tsp salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Juice of 1 lemon
For cooking
2 tbsp. olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
Warm w

If you are using fresh vines, blanch a few at a time in boiling water and drain. If you are using preserved vine leaves rinse them in hot water several times to remove the salt and to soften them slightly, drain.

Mix all the filling ingredients together and season with a little salt and lots of freshly ground black pepper.

Line the bottom of a medium-heavy saucepan with a few vine leaves. Take one vine leave at a time and cut off the stalks and with the shiny side downwards, place one tablespoon of the mixture at the stem end, fold both edges inward and roll into a tight cigar shape. Sometimes you may have to use two leaves together if they are very small or torn.

Place the ‘Dolmathes’ in the prepared saucepan seam side down very closely together in round rows. Continue like this until all the mixture is finished. Drizzle over the olive oil and lemon juice, and invert two small plates on top to prevent them from moving and opening out during cooking. Pour enough hot water into the pan to just cover the ‘Dolmathes’. Cover the pan loosely with a lid and simmer on a low heat for 1 hour until most of the liquid has been absorbed.

Serve hot or cold, as a starter, main meal or accompaniment to meat and fish dishes.



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