If there ever was a dish that exemplified the motto of Butternutplace— “Stay Briny”—it would have to be dolmades!
This lamb-y recipe makes creative use of leftover bones for an easy and less time-consuming cook time with help of the trusty Instant Pot. You could use any pressure cooker, however. Apparently, for decades grandmothers/yayas in Greece have been pressure cooking their dolmades. Well, I’ve finally caught up, not just in cooking but in being a grandmother! Since my grandmother name is Gramala, I’ve christened this recipe with my moniker.
With record high temperatures here in the PNW, I moved my kitchen outdoors this summer to the covered front porch. There I have a butane cooktop, a toaster oven and the other man in my life, Marengo the Instant Pot. (You know, everyone is naming their IPs lately, and I just had to join in.)
The classic dolmades recipe is with rice and occasionally lamb. (Check out my original/traditional/classic recipe.) I amped up this recipe with a whole pound of grass-fed ground lamb, and I reduced the rice. Pine nuts and fresh herbs round out the flavor, plus a lot of lemon. The bones and fresh tomatoes help to infuse the cooking liquid, making this a yummy treat.
While this will save you time in cooking, it will not save you time in prepping. Sorry!
Makes 50-60 dolmades depending upon the size of your grape leaves.
- 1 lb ground grass-fed lamb
- 1 C rice (long grain preferred)
- ¼ C tomato paste
- 2 C chopped onions
- 3 T chopped garlic
- ½ C lemon juice
- ¾ C olive oil
- ½ C chopped fresh parsley
- 1/4 C chopped fresh mint (or 2 t dried mint)
- 1 T dried dill (or 3 T chopped fresh)
- ¼ C pine nuts
- 1 T fresh ground cumin
- 1 ½ T salt
- 1 T lemon zest
- 2 t freshly ground pepper
- 2-3 tomatoes, sliced
- Enough bones to cover the bottom of your Instant Pot
- 2 ½ C water
- Brined grape leaves (about 60)
- Put bones into the bottom of your IP and top with fresh tomatoes!
- Add water to IP
- In ¼ C oil, sauté your onions and garlic until just softened
- Combine onion/garlic mixture with lamb, rice, herbs, pine nuts, lemon juice, olive oil and spices. Mix thoroughly with your hands and set aside.
- Put mixture into your grape leaves. See here for more information.
- Layer dolmades in the IP on your fresh tomato bed, separating layers with fresh or brined grape leaves. This should make about 3 layers of 20 or so dolmades each.
- Pressure cook on manual for 12 minutes, with 15 minute natural pressure release.
Serve warm or at room temp with avgolemono sauce. Here’s a link to my favorite recipe.
The dolmades and the sauce keep well in the fridge for 5 days. You can also freeze the dolmades. The sauce does not freeze well.