Catholic Recipe: Dolmas
Also Called: Stuffed Grape Leaves
Unless Easter is very late indeed, the beginning of Lent falls in February. Easter Sunday is the first Sunday after the full moon which occurs on or next after the Spring Equinox (March 21st). Easter therefore always falls on some date between March 22nd and April 25th inclusive.
In various countries there are customs for these days which have survived the centuries and are still lovingly observed. And nearly always there is some special dish that is prepared during this time.
In Syria, the Thursday before Lent is known as Drunkard's Thursday because eating and drinking reach top form on that day. A sheep is slaughtered and roasted and served with rice-stuffed grape leaves and figs stewed in molasses.
Dolmas or stuffed grape leaves, is also served with the Greek Easter Lamb on Easter Sunday.
Blanch the grape leaves in boiling water for about five minutes. Combine the rice with the chick-peas (either canned or cooked), the minced onion, garlic, parsley, and seasoning. Place a tablespoon of this mixture on each leaf, roll up and press together with your hand. Cook them for about thirty minutes with enough water to cover, or some tomato juice seasoned liberally with lemon. They may be eaten hot or cold. If you have no grape leaves, cabbage leaves (remove the spine) or even lettuce leaves may be used.Recipe Source: Feast Day Cookbook by Katherine Burton and Helmut Ripperger, David McKay Company, Inc., New York, 1951