These stuffed grape leaf rolls are divine. It is known as Dolma in Azerbaijan and the neighbouring regions. The name comes from the word dolmag, which translates as to be stuffed. There are many variations of Dolma.
Today, I am making traditional Azerbaijani Dolma, made with grape leaves stuffed with ground beef and rice.
Divine Stuffed Grape Leave Rolls (Dolma)
- ½ pound grape leaves - weigh before washing
- 1 ½ pounds ground beef (minced beef)
- ½ cup rice - rinsed
- 1 medium onion - finely chopped
- ½ stalk spring onions - finely chopped
- ½ cup fresh dill - chopped
- ½ cup cilantro (coriander) - chopped
- ¼ cup mint - chopped
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ cup butter
- 1 ½ cups beef stock (beef broth or beef bouillon) - boiling
- 1 cup sour cream
- 3 cloves garlic - minced
- 1 pinch salt
- Mix the ground beef, rice, onion, spring onion, cilantro, dill, mint, pepper, and salt in a large bowl. Put it aside. If using fresh grape leaves, bring water to a boil in a large pot and place the grape leaves into the water.
- As soon as the leaves become softer and change their colour, remove them from the pot using tongs or a slotted spoon. The younger leaves will take about 30 seconds to soften, but the older ones (they will be thicker and a lot of times larger than the younger leaves) might take up to 3 minutes. If using jarred leaves, place them in a colander in batches and rinse off the brine. If jarred leaves are thick, blanch them for 2 or 3 minutes before using. Remove the stems that stick out. Cut large leaves in half if you want to make your rolls smaller. Don’t discard damaged leaves; you can use them to patch holes. Place 1 tbsp or less of the filling on a ribbed side of a leave.
- Roll it, tucking in the sides. In a large pot place, the stuffed rolls seam side down next to each other in circles and then arrange them in layers.
- Place the butter on top of the rolls. Cover them with a heatproof plate to prevent them from moving around.
- Pour the boiling broth or water onto the plate. It should barely cover the grape leave rolls. Cover the pot, and let simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour until the leaves are softened and the meat is cooked through.
- Mix the garlic, salt and yogurt in a small bowl.
- Serve warm with a dollop of the dressing.