RECIPE FOR IRAQI DOLMA
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 50 minutes
3 large potatoes, scrubbed
1.5kg fatty lamb rack
5 large white or yellow onions
6-8 baby aubergines
6-8 lebanese courgettes
6 medium tomatoes
1x450g (net) jar drained vine leaves
1.5 kg minced meat
1 1/2 cup chopped parsley
1 cup chopped dill
1 cup chopped mint
3 cups rice
2 cups fresh lemon juice
2 cups tomato paste
1/2 cup olive oil
4 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 Tbsp 7-spice
1/2 tsp citric acid powder(optional)
4 bouillon cubes
2 1/2 cups hot water
1/2 cup vinegar
Stage I: Prepare the vegetables and the stuffing:
Prepare the vegetables:
- Drain, rinse, and separate the vineleaves.
- Cut the onions only halfway to the core, from head to root. Boil for 20 minutes then let cool. Separate the onion layers.
- Core the baby aubergines, courgettes, and tomato.
To make the filling simply mix in a large bowl the minced meat, rice, chopped parsley, dill, mint, tomato paste, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, 7-spice, citric acid powder (if using), and the cored parts of the aubergines, courgettes, and tomato thoroughly together.
Stage II: Stuff the vegetables and arrange the pot.
- Cut the rack into separate chops, season with some salt and pepper, and fry in a large pot until browned on both sides but not cooked through.
- Set the meat aside and (off-heat) thickly slice the potatoes and place them in a single layer on the bottom of a medium pot. Return the chops over the potatoes, with their drippings, in single lager.
- Fill the onion layers, roll up, and arrange on top of the chops.
- Fill the cored aubergines, courgettes, and tomatoes and arrange on top of the vineleaves.
- Fill vineleaves with a heaping teaspoon of the filling, fold the sides, then roll up.
- Arrange the vinesleaves over the vegetables.
Stage III: Make the sauce and cook.
- Place a heavy plate upside down over the dolma.
- Whisk the bouillon cubes in the hot water and vinegar until dissolved
- Pour the hot stock over them and bring to a boil.
- Cover, reduce to a simmer and let cook for 90 minutes to 2 hours.
- Remove from heat and let cool for 10 to 15 minutes before inverting on the serving dish.
- I like to place a disc of bread before inverting to absorb the liquids.
- Remove and discard any burnt potato, and serve steaming hot.