Kurdish Dolma (From InterNASHional Mashup Dinner)
2 long Chinese eggplant
3 small russet potatoes
5 cloves garlic
1 bunch fresh dill
3 small cans of tomato paste
1 jar California vine leaves (found in most Middle Eastern shops)
5 cups short grain rice (rinsed and soaked in warm water)
3 T sumac
2 tbsp salt
1 tbsp white pepper
1/2 cup olive or canola oil
Cut all long vegetables into 3” pieces. Hollow out the core with a pairing knife, leaving the skin intact. Save the insides in a bowl. Take the skin off all of the onions and make a slit halfway down, making sure you do not go past the core. Place the onions in a saucepan with water and 1 tbsp salt and bring to the boil. When you start to see each onion layer expanding, drain and set aside.
Open the vine leaves and wash them in water. Cut a ‘hinge’ or lid on top of the tomatoes, and remove all the insides with a spoon, transfer to another bowl. Chop all the dill, removing woody stems from the bottom.
In a food processor, pulse the insides of the vegetables together with peeled garlic. Saute in oil over medium heat until just translucent. Remove from heat and set aside. Pulse the insides of the raw tomato as well, and set aside.
In a large bowl, mix the rice, sautéed veggies, raw tomato, tomato paste, dill, salt and spices together with 5 cups of warm water until well incorporated. Mix thoroughly. Remove each onion layer gently, giving you approximately three layers/shells per onion. Stuff each shell with the spiced mince mixture, then repeat for the remaining vegetables. You can stuff a bit of grape leaves in the bottom of the veggies if needed to help mixture stay inside.
Lay out the vine leaves with the vein sides facing you and add a small amount of rice mixture to each. Hand roll each to form a small cigar shape.
In a dutch oven or high sided pot with tight fitting lid, individually add the stuffed onions, veggies and vine leaves. Make sure tomatoes are on top as they are most delicate. Ensure a snug and tight fit.
Season the generously with salt, and add about another 4-5 cups of water (the level of liquid in the saucepan should not exceed the second layer of veggies). Place a small plate on top, and push down firmly to hold veggies in place and ensure stuffing stays inside. Bring to a boil for 10 mins, then lower the heat and slow cook for 35 mins more.
Tilt the pan away from you and siphon off some of the cooking liquid into a bowl and reserve for serving. Carefully flip the dolma pan on to a large tray, and serve in the middle of the table. Serve with tzatziki and bread for dipping. Eat with someone you love!