Take a look at these little things… ☺️
Some people may put out chips and dip for a light, pre dinner snack; and some may have taken the time to make small, little canapé-like morsels. And others may just shrug their shoulders and say I think I may have some cheese in the fridge but, oh noooo, not you, not us foodies…
We don’t adhere to the cliche of pre dinner snacking or the stock-standard appetiser
Instead we throw together a quick and easy brown rice risotto through which you stir a roasted red pepper sauce and a selection of herbs (um, dill and marjoram, please) and then wrap this risotto in vine leaves.
That’s right, forget stuffing tomatoes, peppers and eggplant for a second because that is soooooo, like, 2015. Right now we’re stuffing vine leaves.
And why wouldn’t you I mean, look at them, don’t they look amazing?!?!
Can you imagine, at the next social gathering at your place, the look on your guests’ faces as you pull out a plate of these stuffed vine leaves and announce “I made them myself”
The “oohs”, the “ahhhhhs”, the “wows” the “how did you have time to do this?!?!?”
And you just stand there with a smirk on your face and a little whimsical shrug of your shoulders; because you are a awesome and you don’t give away your secrets. You won’t tell people that, even though these dolmadakia do look a little intricate and work intensive, they were a quick and easy spectacle to make.
OK so maybe you didn’t believe me before about how easy these dolmadakia are to make. Well, let me present my case to you in the quickest way possible:
EXHIBIT A: The Risotto
Be honest, you heard the word risotto and you ran for the hills, didn’t you? All you could imagine was the slow simmering process of slowly adding liquid to a pan, bit by bit, waiting for it to be absorbed by the arborio, and you groaned because:
traditional risotto = long time standing over the stove = BORING!!!
But fear and grimace no longer my fellow foodies because when I say risotto, what I actually mean is “mega-quick, mega-easy, simmer-rice-in-a-pan-with-lots-of-flavour”, kinda deal.
All good? Good.
This is how the risotto thing will go down:
After sautéing chopped onions and garlic in a pan we’ll throw in the rice, coat it in all that delicious onion-y and garlicky flavour before pouring in stock (homemade, here, is obviously the desired choice but store-bought will work just fine) cover and simmer for about 25 minutes (if you’re not crazy about using brown rice, and prefer good old white rice instead, this will cut the time down to just 15 minutes – score!)
And, Bam! The risotto is made. Just a few minutes of hands on prep followed by an easy half hour of doing nothing!
EXHIBIT B: The Roasted Red Pepper Sauce
Thyme to Mango’s 5 Minute Red Pepper Sauce first made its appearance in November last year and received a reinvention and rerelease last week. It is, quite simply, one of the most delicious, quick and easy, and ready-for-anything sauces you’re ever going to make or eat (or slurp from the blender jar!).
And, naturally, you already know about this roasted red pepper sauce brilliance and have a jar of it sitting in your refrigerator, just waiting to be used on the latest nude food hero recipe.
Okay, if (for some terrible reason) you do not have the sauce ready to go, then you can find it right here. 5 Minutes is all you need to throw it together (plus some idle cooking time) and your sauce-slurping life will never be the same again!
Aaaaaaaaannnnnnnnddddd if you don’t have the sauce, AND you cant be bothered to make it (?) then you can alway substitute it with 1/2 cup of chopped tomatoes either freshly cut by yourself or found in a store bought can.
Either way, simplicity is the name of the game!
EXHIBIT C: The Rolling
How do you stuff a leaf? It may seem a little confusing and, once you have a look at an actual vine leaf also a little daunting, but taking the risotto and the leaf and smashing them together into dolmadakia is a piece of vine-leaf-rolling cake.
It’s almost like stuffing your own burrito only much smaller and with wet, oily leaves instead of tortillas.
So here is a quick demonstration to show you how easy – and fool proof – stuffing vine leaves can be:
Unravel the vine leaf and lay it flat on you work surface, the vein side (the bumpy side) facing upwards towards you.
If your leaf has a stem, cut it off with scissors.
Spoon 1 tbsp of cooled risotto onto the lower third of the leaf.
Mould the risotto into a thick sausage-like shape.
Bring up the bottom of the leaf and fold over the sausage of risotto, fold it under the risotto tightly.
Continue rolling up the leaf until almost at the end.
Fold the sides inwards and under the roll.
Continue rolling and store seam side down.
Now, despite there being 8 steps each one only takes a few seconds to complete and, after rolling several batches myself, I would say the average time to roll a dolmadakia was about 20 seconds.
Now, this recipe makes about 30 (give or take) dolmadakia which, if you’re rolling on your own, means you have about 10 minutes of dolmakdakia-rolling time.
Now that’s pretty quick, right?
And, if you have a dolmadakia-rolling buddy then this time will drop to just five minutes – yikes this is getting good (→food nerd alert←)
And just think, if you had ten people it would take only 60 seconds to make a full batch of dolmakdakia.
And that means you can get to the eating bit just that little bit quicker. And that’s what it is all about.
Stuffing your face with awesome food!!!!
Serve your delicious dolmadakia with tzatziki
Dolmadakia – Greek-style Stuffed Vine Leaves
Prep Time: 30 mins || Cook Time: 25 mins || Makes: 20 to 30
- 1 Medium onion, chopped
- 3 – 5 clove of garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 cup brown rice
- 2 cups of vegetable or chicken stock
- 1/2 cup roasted red pepper sauce (or chopped tomatoes as alternative)
- 2 tbsp fresh dill, finely chopped
- 1 tsp dried marjoram (can be substituted with oregano or any other herb)
- 30 or so vine leaves (cane be found i specialty food stores or delicatessens)
- In a pan over medium heat sauté the onions in the olive oil for a few minutes until soft and translucent. Add the garlic and cook for another few seconds. Add the rice and stir for 30 seconds until all the grains are covered in the oil.
- Add the stock and bring to the boil. Cover, reduce to a gentle simmer and cook for 25 minutes or until all the stock has been absorbed and the rice is cooked. Stir through the red pepper sauce and herbs and place in the refrigerator.
- Meanwhile separate and open out the vines leaves. Once the risotto has cooled, stuff the vine leaves (how to do this is shown in th post abover)
- Can be stored in the refrigerator for several days in an airtight container. Serve with Tztatziki or hummus.