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Lamb Dolmas
Chef Wayne Johnson of Andaluca – Seattle, WA
Adapted by StarChefs

Yield: 6 Servings


  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound lamb, lean ground
  • 1 pound onion, small dice
  • ½ cup red bell pepper, small dice
  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ¾ cup tomato purée
  • 2 Tablespoons currants
  • ¼ cup pine nuts, toasted
  • 2 Tablespoons craisins™
  • ¼ cup Italian parsley, minced
  • 2 Tablespoons oregano, minced
  • 2 Tablespoons mint, minced
  • 3 Tablespoons dill, minced
  • Grape leaves, as needed, rinsed & drained
  • ½ cup lemon juice
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 6 sprigs thyme, for garnish

  • Zabaglione
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice, fresh
  • 6 Tablespoons chicken stock
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon dill, fresh minced
  • ¾ teaspoon salt, kosher
  • Pinch of white pepper finely ground


For Dolmas:
Break up lamb with whisk for small and uniform pieces. In sauté pan over medium high heat cook lamb and onion in olive oil until well-browned. Add bell pepper, rice, salt and cayenne and sauté 2 more minutes.

Add tomato purée, currants, half the pine nuts, craisins, Italian parsley, oregano, mint and dill and heat through. Remove from heat. Let cool to room temperature. Refrigerate until cool.

On work surface, arrange grape leaves, shiny side down. Place 1 ounce filling per leaf, roll up, folding sides in burrito-style. Dolmas must be rolled neatly and tightly to cook correctly.

Line deep casserole with small or torn grape leaves. Place in pan seam-side down. Fit snugly but not packed together. Line entire pan with Dolmas. Cover with additional grape leaves.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Bring lemon juice and chicken broth to boil, then pour over Dolmas. Weigh down Dolmas by placing small, perforated cooling rack upside down on top. Cover pan with foil sealed well. Bake 1 hour or until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender. Remove foil. Let cool. Can be stored up to 5 days in airtight container in refrigerator.

For Zabaglione:
Combine egg yolks, lemon juice and stock over double boiler. Whisk constantly over medium high heat until mixture is pale yellow, fluffy and thickened. Slowly add olive oil to incorporate. Whisk in dill, salt and pepper. Remove from heat. Zabaglione will last 4 hours at room temperature.

To Serve:
Steam Dolmas 5 minutes or until hot. Place 3 Dolmas per plate, corners on top of each other at right angles. Sauce Zabaglione across Dolmas, covering each one. Sprinkle pine nuts across Dolmas, place dill sprigs in upper right corner of plate.