Chicken and pistachio dolmades

Chicken and pistachio dolmades

New Middle Eastern Food
8 as part of a mezze selection
Mark Roper

The chicken and pistachios make these home-made dolmades more delicate than traditional lamb versions.


Quantity Ingredient
250g hand-sized vine leaves, fresh or preserved
100g long-grain rice
200g minced chicken
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
freshly ground black pepper
60g unsalted pistachio kernels
1 lemon, zested,finely chopped
pinch sea salt
4 tomatoes, sliced
4 garlic cloves, cut in half
1 bunch mint
1 litre good-quality chicken stock
1 lemon, juiced
natural yoghurt, to serve


  1. If using fresh vine leaves, blanch them in boiling water for 30 seconds and refresh in cold water. If using preserved vine leaves, soak them for 10 minutes, then rinse and pat dry.
  2. Wash the rice and mix it with the chicken mince, allspice, cinnamon, pepper, nuts, zest and salt.
  3. Line the bottom of a heavy-based casserole with a few vine leaves and a layer of sliced tomatoes.
  4. Arrange the remaining leaves on a work surface, vein side up, and slice out the stems. Place a spoonful of filling across the base of a leaf. Roll it over once, fold in the sides and roll it into a neat sausage shape. The dolmades should be about the size of your little finger — don’t roll them too tightly or they will burst during cooking. Continue stuffing and rolling until all the filling is used.
  5. Pack the dolmades in tightly on top of the tomatoes, stuffing the halved garlic cloves in among them. Lay the bunch of mint over the top, then pour in the chicken stock and lemon juice and season with salt and pepper. Place a plate on top to keep the dolmades submerged in the liquid, and slowly bring to the boil. Once boiling, lower the heat and simmer gently for 45 minutes.
  6. Allow to cool, then turn out into a serving dish and serve hot, warm or even cold, with plenty of yoghurt.
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