I am sure that all of you who love Greek cuisine know what dolmades are and to be frank they are one of many of my all time favourite Greek comfort food. I usually buy a lot of vine leaves during spring when they are tender and store them in the deep freezer to last for a whole year. However, sometimes they finish before spring so during winter a good alternative would be lahanodolmades, which are stuffed cabbage leaves or seskoulodolmades, stuffed chard leaves.
In order to make lahanodolmades you have to buy a large cabbage whose leaves are not very tight but should be rather loose. The cabbage core is removed and you have to immerse the cabbage in hot, salty water until they start becoming soft. In order to be able to remove it from the hot water, you can stick a large fork in the centre, remove the outer leaves and continue cooking them until you have removed enough. Some leaves may be damaged but those can be collected as well as any leftover cabbage and turn into another Greek dish called “Lahanoryzo”, which is a kind of rice pilaf with cabbage, which makes a great side dish or a vegetarian meal on itself with some Greek yoghurt.
Lahanodolmades me Avgolemono (stuffed cabbage leaves), recipe by Ivy
Preparation time: 50 minutes
Cooking time: 45 minutes
- 1 large cabbage about 2 kilos (afrato)
- 1 kilo ground pork or veal (or a mixture of both). I use pork.
- ½ cup of rice preferably Carolina or other short grain rice
- 1 big red onion, finely chopped
- 1 green onion, finely chopped
- ½ cup of parsley, finely chopped
- ½ cup dill, finely chopped
- ½ cup aromatic herbs such as, kafkalithres and myronia (optional)
- ½ cup of extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- 1 cube dissolved with water or chicken stock
- 3 egg yolks
- ½ cup lemon juice
- 2 tbsp corn flour
- 1 cup broth
- In a large pot, bring salted water to a boil. Carefully remove the core of the cabbage, stick a fork in the centre and boil cabbage until outer leaves become soft. Remove as many leaves as you can and continue with more leaves.
- In a bowl put the ground meat, the rice, the onion, parsley, herbs, salt and pepper, as well as half the oil and mix well.
- If the leafs are very big cut them into pieces about 4 x 4 inches and remove any hard core. Add a heaped spoonful of minced meat (the amount of the filling will depend on the size of the leaf).
- Neatly fold left edge and then right edge and then roll all the way. Wrap up into a cigar shape (don’t fold too tight as the rice will expand during cooking). Repeat with the remaining leaves and filling and fold each side of the leaf and then roll.
- Place neatly in the pot (I use the same one the cabbage was boiled) starting from the edge to the centre. Second and third layers may be placed on top, then cover with the plate (which must be exactly the size of the pan). This is done so that when the lahanodolmades are boiling they will not open.
- Add the remaining olive oil and water (or stock) just to cover the plate and when reaching boiling point lower heat and cook for 45 minutes.
- Drain most of the broth keeping 1 cup for the avgolemono.
- Let them cool down for a while and then pour over the avgolemono sauce. See step-by-step instructions here.
Note: Avgolemono needs some time to thicken, so it’s better leave it for at least half an hour before serving.