Lamb, Brown Rice, and Mint Dolmades with Goat Milk Yogurt and Mint Sauce

Lamb, Brown Rice, and Mint Dolmades with Goat Milk Yogurt and Mint Sauce

  • Servings: 35 - 40 pcs
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

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This is my first post done in collaboration with Worden Farm, a family-run, organic farm in Punta Gorda, Florida.

Love dolmades or stuffed grape leaves and even though they do require a bit of prep work it’s well worth the effort.

Most recipes call for uncooked long grain white rice but I prefer eating brown rice (it’s healthier).  I’ve made this dish before simply replacing the white rice with the brown rice but this required cooking the dolmades far too long (because of the time it takes to fully cook the brown rice) and not all of the rice grains were fully cooked.  In this recipe, I cook the brown rice separately before I add it to the rest of the ingredients.

This method works much better and I believe it’s healthier using brown rice instead of white.


INGREDIENTS

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Dolmades:

  • 40-45 brined grape leaves
  • 8 oz ground lamb
  • 1 cup brown, short or long grain rice
  • Juice of two lemons
  • 1 Tbsp grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup chopped organic mint leaves
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley leaves
  • 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 3 cloves of garlic minced (or more if you prefer)
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, canola, or vegetable oil
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • Black pepper to taste

Goat milk yogurt and organic mint sauce:

  • 1 cup goat milk yogurt
  • 1/2 cup chopped organic mint leaves
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • Black pepper to taste (optional)

DIRECTIONS

Preparation:

Goat milk yogurt and organic mint sauce:

  • Wash and spin dry 1/2 cup of organic mint leaves.
  • Fine chop 1/2 cup of mint leaves.
  • Add to the goat milk yogurt, season with kosher salt to taste; store in an airtight container in the fridge until you’re ready to use.
  • Can be made a few days in advance.

Dolmades:

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  • Cook brown rice per producer’s instructions; keep warm until ready to prepare the stuffing mixture.
  • Saute ground lamb in oil until just cooked or slightly browned, season with kosher salt and black pepper to taste; place, with drippings, into large mixing bowl.
  • Toast pine nuts (if not already toasted/roasted); add to large bowl with cooked lamb.
  • Wash and spin dry parsley, separate leaves from stems (discard stems), rough chop; add to large bowl with cooked lamb.
  • Wash and spin dry organic mint, separate leaves from stems (discard stems), rough chop; add to large bowl with cooked lamb.
  • Mince garlic; add to large bowl with cooked lamb.
  • Grate lemon peel; add to large bowl with cooked lamb.
  • Mix the ingredients well, season to taste with kosher salt and black pepper.
  • Cool cooked brown rice to where it isn’t hot to the touch, add to mixing bowl with lamb mixture; mix well then set aside.
  • Grape leaves:
    • Immerse brined grape leaves in a bowl of cold water to rinse off excess salt brine; drain, cut stems if present; set aside.

Cooking:

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Making the dolmades:

  • Lay out single grape leaf shiny side down with the tip of the leaf away from you on clean cutting board (see above photo).
    • The size of the leaves in most grape leaf products are not consistent; some are larger than others so you may need to double up on some leaves.
    • Also, if you have leaves that have holes in them set aside a couple of the smallest leaves that you tear pieces off to then place the torn off part over the hole on the leaf you are going to roll.
  • Place 1 Tbsp of the mixture just above the stem (see above photo).
  • Fold the left side of leaf over the mixture, then fold the right side of the leaf.
  • Starting from the bottom roll the dolmades gently but tightly.
  • Place, seam side down in a stainless steel pot (see above photo) until bottom is full.
  • Place additional dolmades on the first layer.
  • Add one cup of water and lemon juice.
  • Place the pot on stove top burner set to medium-high heat; bring to a simmer.
  • Cook for 15 minutes; periodically check to make sure that water in the bottom of the pot has not completely evaporated; add 1/4 of water at a time if necessary.
  • The dolmades are ready.  Carefully remove them from the pot and place on a warm serving tray if to be eaten immediately.
  • If you are cooking them ahead of a dinner or event allow the hot dolmades to cool then place them in an airtight container in the fridge until you’re ready to enjoy them.  They may also be eaten cold.

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ENJOY!

Lamb, Brown Rice, and Mint Dolmades with Goat Milk Yogurt and Mint Sauce

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