DOLMA SHIRVANI-STYLE is dolma made of grape leaves, finely chopped lamb meat, riblets and sour plums. (My family recipe.)
*A full-sized picture of this dish is available in the Gallery.
1 lb (450g) grape leaves (fresh or preserved)
2 lb (900g) lamb
2 lb (900g) lamb riblets
1 large onion
½ cup short-grain rice
½ bunch of cilantro
½ bunch of dill
½ bunch of mint
1 cup of sour fresh or dried plums
Salt and pepper to taste
Preparing the grape leaves.
1. Cut the stems off from each leaf and stack them together.
2. If you’re using fresh grape leaves, blanch them in hot water for a few minutes.
3. If you’re using preserved leaves – just put them in a colander and rinse under warm water and drain.
4. Stack leaves on top of one another, preparing for making dolma.
Preparing the stuffing.
Cut the meat into very small pieces (as small as you can).
Peel and finely chop the onion.
Wash, dry, and chop up the herbs.
Mix together the meat, onion, herbs, and washed rice in a large bowl and season with salt and pepper.
Line the bottom of a saucepan with leaves and set some aside to cover the dolma while they’re cooking. On the side that isn’t shiny of each leave place about a tablespoon of meat filling and fold it tightly.
Place each dolma in the saucepan as close as possible to each other. Spread around lamb riblets (season them with salt and pepper to your taste) and sour plums as well.
Cover the dolma (but not the riblets) with leaves, place a suitable inverted plate on the top, and weigh it down with a cup. The plate will help prevent the dolma from unwrapping while they’re cooking. Pour the boiling water or beef stock into the saucepan up to the level of the plate and let it boil while on medium heat. Then, turn the heat down and let it simmer for approximately two hours, or until dolma is fully cooked. You can check if it’s fully cooked by lifting the plate and tasting a dolma. Be sure to periodically add hot water or stock to the saucepan to prevent the dolma from burning. Once the dolma is cooked, remove the plate. Before serving, remove the cover leaves (the cover leaves will prevent the dolma from darkening, because hot, cooked dolma instantly darkens because of the air.)
Serve hot with riblets and sour plums.
Bon Appétit! Enjoy!
This post is also available in: Russian