I never make dolma in the winter so for me, as soon as the sun begins to shine and the temperatures start to rise, the dolma-making instinct in me stirs.
Of course it’s the fact that all of a sudden all the right stuffing vegetables start making their appearance in the market and after all those lentils and other winter recipes, they make a joyful change.
Ingredients for Meat-stuffed Dolma
- Using a teaspoon, halve and carefully hollow out the courgettes, aubergines, and *tomatoes. The tomatoes should be very firm as they tend to become soft during cooking.
- Carefully deseed the peppers. You don’t want to spoil their shape.
Sprinkle the inside of each one lightly with salt before filling.
- Place all the ingredients for the stuffing except the butter in a large mixing bowl. Use your food processor for the herbs and onions.
- Mix thoroughly with your hands.
- Use this to fill each of your hollowed out vegetables to the top, not too tightly and not over-full. Remember the rice will swell.
- Top each one with a little decorative slice of tomato or green pepper.
- Place them one by one in a single layer in a heavy casserole. Le Creuset is ideal. Make sure they stay upright.
- Pour in the water, add a few knobs of butter, half cover and cook on medium heat for about 1 hour.
- If you have any of the meat stuffing left over, make little meatballs and place them on top of the dolma.
- If you prefer a slightly firmer dolma, after cooking, arrange in a single layer in an ovenproof dish with some of the liquid around, and place in a preheated oven(350°F/180°C) until lightly browned (about 20-30 mins).
- Serve hot with yogurt.
- *If you use tomatoes, add the hollowed out insides to your stuffing mixture. This was a tip from my MIL! Not only does it add to the taste, but it keeps the stuffing moist during cooking.
- Wedge the tomatoes against the side of the pan with other dolma firmly against them. This helps prevent total collapse and loss of shape!
Don’t worry if the water boils over the tops of the dolma. This is fine. I definitely think that putting them in the oven for that final touch is worth it.