Dolma, Not Just Stuffed Grape Leaves In Our Family

In our family, we stuff any and every veggie we've got on hand. We also throw in any meat we've got on hand, too.


I had some chicken legs and a bone-in ribeye (that I cut up) that I wanted to use in the dolma. I braised the chicken and steak in about 2 cups of water, salt & pepper to taste. Braise for about 45 minutes to make a nice rich stock. The dolma stuffing is just 2 cups of uncooked medium grain or long grain rice (rinsed but not soaked), 2 tablespoons of chopped curly parsley, 1/2 onion (chopped fine), 1 tablespoon of fresh chopped dill, 2 tablespoons of lemon juice (bottled is fine here), 1/2 cup of tomato sauce & salt and pepper to taste. You can add cooked ground beef or lamb to the mixture if you'd like. Mix all the ingredients in a bowl. Sometimes I add a teaspoon of ground hot red pepper. If you like spicy...please try the red pepper!
Swiss Chard is one of our family favorites!
Cut off the hard stems on the end.
Place a small amount of the rice mixture near the end of one side of the leaf.
Carefully start rolling your leaf. When you use grape leaves it's easier to bring the sides in, too but with the swiss chard leaves they tend to crack, so just roll them up and not too tight.
These don't have to be perfect because again, the swiss chard tends to crack if you try to roll them really tight. When you place them in the pan, put the loose leaf part down.
Peppers are great to stuff because they add color and are so tasty! Slice the top of the pepper so it is almost sliced off, but not all they way....

Make sure to keep the lid attached and scrape out the inside of the pepper.
Stuff the pepper about half way to the top. Remember the rice is not cooked yet, so don't over stuff your veggies!
Stuffed onions are my favorite! Cut a piece out of your onion so you can grab the layers and pull them apart.

See the layers each become a separate stuffed onion, so one onion can make several stuffed pieces!

Again, stuff about half way full.
And then push one end of the onion behind the other to kind of seal the onion together.
After you've stuffed all your veggies and placed them in a heavy duty pan, place all the meat around your veggies and start pouring the stock on top of the veggies.

Pour all the stock in the pan so that your veggies will sort of "steam" in the stock. This makes the veggies nice and tender and full of flavor!

Move around any meat or veggies to make sure everything is nice and snug next to each other.

Place a heavy ceramic or glass plate on top of the veggies, cover and cook on medium heat for about 15 minutes, then lower the heat to low and cook for another 45 minutes to an hour. The heavy plate helps keep the stuffed veggies together while they cook.
See how nice the inside of the onions look. The rice is nice and soft and so flavorful!

The meat is tender and has all those wonderful flavors from the stuffed veggies in it.
I ate like 3 stuffed swiss chard just plating up this stuff! If you have any stock left in the pan, pour it over the dish!