Chicken and pistachio dolmades

Chicken and pistachio dolmades

William Meppem

Shop-bought dolmades often have a nasty ‘tinny’ flavour, suggesting that the vine leaves have been used straight from a big commercial-sized tin, with barely adequate rinsing. The chicken and pistachios make these home-made dolmades more delicate than traditional lamb versions.


Quantity Ingredient
250g vine leaves
100g long-grain rice
200g chicken mince
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon fresh black pepper
60g unsalted pistachio nuts, shelled
1 lemon, finely zested
pinch salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
4 tomatoes, sliced
4 garlic cloves, cut in half
1 bunch mint
1 litre chicken stock
1 lemon, juiced


  1. If you are using preserved vine leaves, soak them well, then rinse them and pat them dry. Fresh vine leaves should first be blanched. Wash the rice and mix it with the chicken mince, allspice, cinnamon, black pepper, pistachio nuts and lemon zest.
  2. Lay a vine leaf on the work surface, vein side up, and place a spoonful of filling across the base of the leaf. Roll it over once, fold the sides in and then continue to roll it into a neat sausage shape. The dolmades should be around the size of your little finger – don’t roll them too tightly or they will burst during the cooking. Continue stuffing and rolling until the filling is all used.
  3. Line the bottom of a heavy-based casserole with vine leaves and a layer of sliced tomatoes.
  4. Pack the dolmades in tightly on top of the tomatoes, stuffing the halved garlic cloves in among them. Lay the bunch of mint over the top, then pour in the chicken stock and lemon juice. Cover with a plate and slowly bring to the boil. Once boiling, lower the heat and simmer gently for 45 minutes.
  5. Allow to cool, then turn out into a serving dish and serve hot, warm or even cold, with plenty of yoghurt.
Middle East
Middle Eastern
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