Meat-stuffed dolmades

Meat-stuffed dolmades

Dolmádes may kíma

Lyndey and Blair's Taste of Greece
Chris Chen

These are the best dolmades ever! Fani, the chef at Taverna O’Pseiras in Nafplio, makes these with two types of rice — white, which absorbs more liquid and yellow, which holds its shape and prevents the stuffing becoming mushy. However, medium- or short-grain rice works well.


Quantity Ingredient
60 vine leaves, fresh, frozen or vacuum-packed in brine
2 cups fresh tomato sauce or tomato purée, (see Lyndey’s notes)
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
40g cold butter, diced
1 lemon, juiced
crusty bread, to serve

Beef and rice filling

Quantity Ingredient
1kg minced beef
1 large red onion, grated
1/2 bunch dill, finely chopped
1 handful dried spearmint, leaves rubbed between the palms
or 2 tablespoons dried mint
1 cup medium- or short-grain rice
1 teaspoon salt, or more to taste
100ml extra-virgin olive oil


  1. Blanch the vine leaves in boiling water for a couple of minutes, then refresh in batches of cold water to cool. Drain and pat dry.
  2. To make the filling, combine the mince, onion, dill, mint, rice, salt, oil and enough water to bind the mixture.
  3. Working one at a time, place the vine leaves on a flat surface with the ribs facing upwards and the stalk end facing towards you. Place a teaspoon of stuffing (varying slightly with the size of the leaf) towards the stalk end of the leaf. Firmly roll the stalk end over, then tuck in the sides and roll up completely. Place, seam side down, in a large casserole dish or pressure cooker. Repeat with the rest of the leaves and filling. Place the dolmades close together, in layers, so they don’t unravel.
  4. Preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan-forced). Season the dolmades with salt and freshly ground black pepper and pour over the tomato sauce or purée, add the water (or more if the dolmades seem dry) and oil. Top with the diced butter. Place two ovenproof dinner plates on top of the dolmades to weigh them down.
  5. Cover and cook for about 40 minutes, or until the meat is cooked or, if cooking in a pressure cooker, remove the plates and cook for about 15 minutes.
  6. Remove the dinner plates, add the lemon juice and serve the dolmades with some cooking liquid poured over as a sauce. Mop up with crusty bread.

Lyndey’s notes

  • To make fresh tomato sauce whizz 6 fresh tomatoes in the food processor.

    In winter at the Taverna O’Pseiras, this is served with avgolemono rather than tomato sauce, made by beating together 3 eggs, 100 ml lemon juice and slowly adding in a cup of sauce removed from the cooking pot. This is then poured back over the dolmades in the pot.
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