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Stuffed Grape Leave (Dolme) Bake

March 18, 2010 matkonation 12 Comments

Almost every day I’m exposed to new dishes. Throughout my career I have collected those recipes which I really love and I add them to my repertoire. This is a dish I tasted during a photo shoot for “Al Hashulchan” Magazine (Israel’s leading culinary mag), on the topic of Israel’s north food culture (be it a very small country, but there is quite a difference in food per region). Chefs from all over Northern Israel gathered at the Mizpe Hayamim (a beautiful hotel, spa and organic farm) and brought with them their signature dish.

My favorite dish from that day was definitely this recipe made by Anat Otolengi of the Scots Hotel in Tiberias, Israel. Rotem (Al Hashulchan stylist) and I were enjoying every last bite of this dish and since then I’ve make this recipe at least once a month. This dish really makes an impression on people a. because it looks really good and b. because it tastes really good- so I tend to make this dish when I need to do some showing off in the kitchen.

The best part about this dish though- is that it’s really easy to make- you don’t have to sit in the kitchen for hours rolling grape leaves- 20 minutes and this bake is in the oven.

This dish should be served a yogurt sauce (plain white yogurt seasoned with garlic, salt, mint leaves, a bit of lemon juice and olive oil). You can even add a bit of tahini paste to the yogurt for a richer sauce. If keeping kosher is an issue, then skip the yogurt sauce and serve with tahini. That’s it. Enjoy. Danya

Deanna’s side note- I’m not a huge fan of stuffed grape leaves, but since we photographed (and ate) this dish, I’ve made it twice in one week, and the ingredients are waiting for me in the fridge to make it again. I made it for a Friday night dinner and it was a huge hit.

Ingredients for 10″x 12″ (20×30 cm.) baking dish:

1 jar (about 12 oz.) brined grape leaves, drained and washed (find in Middle Eastern supermarkets)

3.5 oz. roasted pine nuts

½ cup sun dried tomatoes, chopped

For the filling:

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 yellow onions, finely diced

3 garlic cloves, finely diced

1 pound ground beef, mixed with a bit of lamb fat (or 1 pound ground lamb meat) *if you can’t find lamb meat/fat, you can skip it- it just adds a bit more flavor

Salt and fresh ground pepper

Handful of fresh mint leaves, chopped

2 cups Risotto rice

For the sauce:

4 cups water

Juice from one lemon

1 tablespoon olive oil

3 garlic cloves, finely sliced

Salt and fresh ground pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Using a strainer, pour hot water over grape leaves and then wash thoroughly with cold tap water- (this will help them separate and get rid of the brine taste).
  3. Line the bottom of the baking dish with parchment paper and scatter ¼ the amount of sun dried tomatoes and pine nuts onto the paper. (in the photos we didn’t make the dish with pine nuts, but they should definitely be added)
  4. Make the filling: on medium flame, heat the olive oil in a large skillet and add the onions and cook for about 7 minutes, until golden.  Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Add the ground beef and cook until browned. Season with salt and pepper. Add the rest of the sun dried tomatoes and pine nuts and mix together. Add the chopped mint and rice, cook while stirring occasionally until the rice becomes translucent (about 5-7 minutes). Remove from heat.
  5. Assemble the dish: line the bottom and sides of the  baking dish with a layer of grape leaves (making sure that their pretty side, without the “veins” is facing down). Pour in half of the filling and line again with a layer of grape leaves. Add the rest of the filling and line again with grape leaves, this time let the grape leaves go over the sides of the dish and then fold them in so that all the filling is covered.
  6. Make the sauce: bring the water to a boil in a medium saucepan and add the lemon juice, olive oil, garlic. Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Pour the sauce over the dish and cover with aluminum foil.
  7. Bake for 1 hour. Let cool for 15 minutes and then flip the dish upside down onto a serving plate.

12 comments to “Stuffed Grape Leave (Dolme) Bake”

  1. Maria says:

    Just found your blog. Love it! Especially this dish!

  2. Anh says:

    Your photography is so perfect and wonderful. The recipe is such another winner! I never think of making domale this way. Fantastic!

    1. matkonation says:

      Thanks Anh and Maria- look forward to hearing about how it comes out!

  3. Chae Stubbe says:

    This is good stuff. I am always looking for such great content to forward to my readers.

  4. hadar yosef says:

    looks beautiful! how would you do a vegetarian version?

    1. matkonation says:

      Danya says: For a vegetarian version add some chopped tomatoes and dried cranberries. You can increase the amount of rice according to the size of your bake. Remember- the amount of water is double the amount of rice.

  5. found your site on del.icio.us today and really liked it.. i bookmarked it and will be back to check it out some more later

  6. Y says:

    What a beautiful looking dish. Just discovered your blog and am really enjoying it! x

    Deanna: Thanks Y.. love your work as well.

  7. rahel says:

    Finally I managed to cook this wonderful dish! I made it without the meat and it was a winner!

  8. Sarah says:

    Damn, it looks so delicious! Can’t wait to try it out!

  9. i always visit food blogs because i always like to do some home cooked meals ;~*

  10. A.C. Rex says:

    Thanks for posting this, reading your blog I

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