Stuffed vine leaves with liver and apple

An unusual and refreshing take on the dolma.

makes 20, serves 4

Serving size


65ml olive oil 
2 medium onions, peeled and chopped 
Salt and black pepper 
2 garlic cloves, peeled and very finely chopped
200g chicken livers, cleaned
80g short-grain rice
1 small cox apple, coarsely grated 
20g chopped dill
10g chopped tarragon
125g medium vine leaves (jarred or fresh – either will work in this dish), blanched for 2 minutes, drained and dried on a tea towel 
3 tbsp lemon juice
120g Greek yoghurt


  1. Put a tablespoon and a half of the oil, all the onion, three-quarters of a teaspoon of salt and some black pepper in a medium sauté pan for which you have a lid. Cook for five minutes on a medium-high heat, add the garlic and cook for three minutes, stirring from time to time, until everything softens. Add the chicken livers and sauté for five minutes, until the liver is almost cooked through. Set aside to cool, then finely chop the liver. Transfer to a large bowl, add the rice, apple, dill and tarragon, and stir.

  2. Lay a vine leaf flat on a work surface, with its stem pointing towards you and the shiny side facing down. Spoon a tablespoon of the rice mixture into the centre-bottom part of the leaf, then shape it as follows: take the two sides of the leaf, fold them tightly over the rice and then roll towards the top of the leaf, so that you end up with a tight, 5cm x 3cm cigar shape. Repeat with remaining leaves and filling. Wipe clean the sauté pan and arrange the stuffed leaves inside, close together and in one or two neat layers.

  3. Mix the remaining olive oil with the lemon juice and 250ml water, and pour over the vine leaves. Cover the pan with a lid, bring the liquid to a simmer and cook very gently for about 40 minutes, until the rice is cooked and most of the liquid has been absorbed. Remove from the heat and leave the dolmas to sit in the pan and cool for at least 20 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature, with the yoghurt on the side.