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Ground venison and rice go Mediterranean in this dolma recipe.{ }
Ground venison and rice go Mediterranean in this dolma recipe.{ }
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How to make Venison Dolma: Step-by-step directions make it easy

Ground venison and rice go Mediterranean in this dolma recipe. Dolma are similar to egg rolls or mini burritos in that the ingredients are rolled up into a tasty little parcel, then cooked. This dish originated in Greece, so you'll use grape leaves, not tortillas, to hold it all together. Try it!

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  • 1 16-oz jar grape leaves in brine (about 60 to 70 leaves)
  • 1 12 cup short grain rice, soaked in water for 20 minutes, strained
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, minced
  • 34 pound ground venison
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • 12 tsp cumin
  • 12 cup parsley, fresh, chopped
  • 12 cup dill, fresh, chopped
  • 12 cup mint, fresh, chopped
  • 1 to 2 tomatoes sliced into rounds
  • 1 quart venison stock
  • Juice of 2 lemons


Rinse grape leaves and drain in colander. Next, heat 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil in a large pan. Add onions and cook for about 2 minutes or so, tossing until translucent.

Season venison with salt, pepper, allspice, and cumin, add to the onions, cook till fully browned, tossing occasionally. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

In a mixing bowl, combine the meat, drained rice, and fresh herbs. Taste and adjust seasoning. Next, add a generous drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, and mix so that everything is well-incorporated.

Lightly oil a deep heavy bottomed pan with olive oil. Line the bottom of pan with broken grape leaves or parchment paper. Top with sliced tomatoes.

Place leaves on cutting board, rough side up, cut off stem. Take 1 heaping teaspoon of the filling and place in the center of the leaf, then fold the sides over the filling and roll. Repeat with the remaining grape leaves or until you're out of stuffing.

Neatly arrange the dolmas seam side down, in your prepared pot, keep them snug. Then place a small plate inverted on top. Bring the stock to a simmer and pour over the dolmas, make sure to cover the dolmas, add water if needed. Place a upside down plate on top the dolmas to keep them submerged.

Now cover the pot with the lid and cook over medium heat for 30-40 minutes until the liquid has been absorbed. Uncover and remove the plate, then pour juice of 2 lemons.

Remove dolmas from heat. Allow to cool uncovered for 20 to 30 minutes before serving. Drizzle with EVOO and lemon to serve.

Chef Wade Truong

Wade is a lifelong Virginian, self-taught chef and hunter has been featured in The New York Times and Garden & Gun. His passion for cooking and sharing food is the foundation of his obsession with the outdoors and the resources they provide. Wade believes every meal should be “enjoyed and celebrated, meaningful, and mindful.”