Becky Luigart-Stayner; Lydia DeGaris-Pursell
Yield
6 servings (serving size: 5 dolmades and (1/4) cup lemon broth)

Once the grape leaves are rolled, they're braised in broth and lemon juice. Their fragrant, slightly tart taste adds flavor to the broth, which is thickened with cornstarch to form a dipping sauce for the dolmades. They make great appetizers. Look for grape leaves in the Mediterranean section of your supermarket.

How to Make It

Step 1

Combine first 3 ingredients in a food processor, and process until minced. Combine the fennel mixture with beef, rice, bulgur, and oil. Grate tomato halves over mixture; discard skin. Sprinkle beef mixture with pepper and salt; stir to combine.

Step 2

Rinse grape leaves under cold water; drain and pat dry with paper towels. Remove stems, and discard. Spoon 1 rounded tablespoon of beef mixture onto the center of each grape leaf. Bring 2 opposite points of leaf to center, and fold over filling. Beginning at 1 short side, roll up leaf tightly, jelly-roll fashion. Repeat procedure with remaining grape leaves.

Step 3

Place stuffed grape leaves close together, seam sides down, in a Dutch oven coated with cooking spray. Add broth and juice; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 30 minutes. Carefully remove dolmades from pan. Combine cornstarch and water. Stir cornstarch mixture into broth; bring to a boil; cook for 1 minute. Stir in dill. Serve with dolmades. Garnish with lemon wedges, if desired.

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