Chicken Dolmas with TriColor Couscous

  • Yield: servings


1 1/2cups good quality balsamic vinegar
2tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1small fennel bulb halved, cored, and diced
1tablespoon minced garlic
1pound ground chicken half white half dark meat (your meat counter will grind for you)
7ounces can artichoke hearts drained
1small roasted red pepper
1/2cup sun dried tomatoes, in oil, drained
1teaspoon dried oregano
1teaspoon dried rosemary
1/2cup panko breadcrumbs
-- salt & pepper to taste
1-- jar grape leaves (30 leaves) rinsed and drained
1cup chicken broth
2tablespoons lemon juice
1 1/2cups water
1/2teaspoon salt
1tablespoon butter
1 1/2cups tri colored couscous
1/2cup pine nuts
1/2cup golden raisins
1/2cup basil flavored olive oil
1/4cup flat leaf parsley coarsely chopped


In a small saucepan, heat balsamic vinegar to boil. Reduce heat and simmer until reduced by half and becomes a thick syrup, about 25 minutes. In a large, deep skillet, heat oil and fennel, cooking until soft, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and ground chicken and cook until browned, breaking up the meat into small pieces, about 6-8 minutes.

While the chicken is browning, combine artichoke hearts, red pepper, and sun dried tomato in mini food processor. Pulse until well combined. Remove chicken from heat and add mixture from food processor, oregano, rosemary, and breadcrumbs. Mix well and salt and pepper to taste. Allow to cool slightly.

Lay out the grape leaves, shiny side down about place about 2 tablespoons of the filing near the stem end of the leaf. Fold the stem end over the filling, then fold both sides towards the middle, and roll up into a cigar shape. Continue with all 30 leaves. Place the dolmades in the large skillet (wipe if out with paper towel if needed). Pour chicken broth and lemon juice over the leaves. The liquid should reach about half way up the dolmades. Cover the pan and simmer over low heat for 30-40 minutes, until the dolmades are tender when pierced with a fork.

During the last 10 minutes of the cooking, bring water, salt, and butter to a boil in a 3 quart saucepan. Add couscous and stir quickly. Remove from heat and cover. Allow to sit for 4-6 minutes. Fluff with a fork and stir in pine nuts and raisins. To serve: Divide the couscous in six pasta bowls. Drizzle basil flavored olive oil over the couscous. Place five dolmades on top of the couscous in a star pattern. Drizzle balsamic syrup over the dolmades and sprinkle with parsley.

Servings: 6
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 40 minutes
Ready in: 1 hour and 30 minutes