STUFFED GRAPE LEAVES DOLMA in BAKU STYLE
*A full-sized picture of this dish is available in the Gallery.
Ingredients for 5-6 servings:
1 lb grape leaves (fresh or preserved)
1 lb ground lamb
1 lb ground beef
1 large onion
½ cup short-grain rice
½ bunch of cilantro
½ bunch of dill
½ bunch of mint
2/3 tsp salt
1/3 tsp black pepper
Prepare the stuffing, by mixing well in a large bowl: grounded meat, finely chopped onion, washed rice, washed and chopped fresh herbs, salt and pepper.
Rinse fresh grape leaves, cut off the stems and blanch them in hot water for a 30-60 seconds.
If using tender preserved leaves – just put them in colander and rinse under water and drain. If using not tender preserved leaves – cook them in boiling water for 30-60 seconds and drain.
Put leaves on top of each other, preparing for making dolma. If leaves are too large, cut them in half.
Several large leaves spread out on the bottom of the pan and leave a few leaves aside, you will need them to cover dolma on the top.
On the not shiny side of each leave place about a teaspoon of meat filling and fold tightly by making square-roundish shape.
Each folded dolma place in the pan as close as possible to each other.
Spread a few leaves to cover dolma and place a suitable inverted plate on the top of dolma and weigh down with a cup. Upper leaves will prevent dolma from darkening, because hot cooked dolma darkens instantly from the air. The plate will help to stop dolma unwrapping during cooking process. Pour the boiling water to the pan to the level of the plate and on the medium heat bring it to the boil.
Turn the heat down and simmer for two hours, if your leaves are tender. If your leaves are thick, cook dolma for 4 hours or more, until the leaves are tender and cooked. You can check this by lifting the plate and taste dolma. Be sure to periodically add hot water to the pan; do not leave it unattended, otherwise it will burn. When dolma is cooked, remove the plate. Remove the upper leaves before serving.
Serve hot with yogurt mixed with finely chopped garlic.
Bon Appétit! Enjoy!
This post is also available in: Russian