Catholic Recipe: Dolmas
Also Called: Stuffed Grape Leaves
Traditionally on the feast of the Ascension, Italian brought grapes and beans for blessing, the first fruits.
The Armenians celebrated the advent of springtime and the Ascension by making a big pan of Dolmas. This is a special dish which uses the new leaves of the grape vine, stuffed with a delicious filling. These Dolmas were the same as those used during the Armenian carnival as a treat before Lent. It seems that the first leaf to sprout in the spring, or after a drought, or after a flood, is the grape. Dolmas or stuffed grape leaves, is also served with the Greek Easter Lamb on Easter Sunday. Depending on where you live, Easter may be too soon for fresh grape leaves, so this recipe may have to be saved for later.
Fry the onions in oil. Add rice. Cook mixture for about 30 minutes. Stir in the other ingredients. Cook five more minutes. Allow the filling to cool. Place one teaspoon of filling in each grape leaf, then roll up the leaf. Line the bottom of a baking pan with grape leaves. Arrange the rolled Dolmas in the pan. Cover the pan. Cook in a slow oven (300°) for about 90 minutes, or until leaves are tender. Serve cold as an appetizer.Recipe Source: Cooking for Christ by Florence Berger, National Catholic Rural Life Conference, 4625 Beaver Avenue, Des Moines, IA 50310, 1949, 1999