Ready in 45 minutes
These are great party food. They also make a wonderful light lunch or appetizer.
Rinse each of the grape leaves well, snip off the stems and pat dry. Set aside, stacked on a plate and covered with plastic wrap. In a skillet heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over moderate and cook the onion until soft. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Add the cinnamon stick and the rice, stirring to coat and combine. Stir in the currants, pine nuts, mint, salt, pepper and 1/2 cup of the chicken stock. Bring to a simmer and cook until all of the liquid is evaporated, stirring occasionally. Remove the skillet from the heat, remove the cinnamon stick and discard. Allow to cool completely.
Place a grape leaf smooth side down with the stem end toward you on the work surface. Place a tablespoon of the cooled rice filling near the stem end and fold in the sides of the leaf over the filling. Beginning with the stem end roll up the leaf, not too tightly because the rice will continue to absorb liquid and expand in the next cooking step. Repeat process for remaining grape leaves. Transfer the dolmades to a skillet just large enough to contain all of the dolmades in a single layer. In a bowl combine the remaining chicken stock and olive oil with the lemon juice. Pour the liquid over the dolmades, adding additional water if necessary to just barely cover with liquid. Bring the liquid to a simmer and cook, covered, until tender when pierced with fork, about 30 minutes. Remove skillet from heat, uncover and allow to cool. Serve warm, at room temperature or cool.
Yield: 20 dolmades
While they are easy to buy at the Greek deli down the street, I prefer the homemade version. I marinate them in a tangy dressing then put them out at a party. They disappear like magic.