Remember a few weeks ago when I showed you meme and pepe’s grapevine? And remember how I teased you with the promise of how to make grape leaves?
Well, I’m making good on that promise.
You know that show on Cooking Channel, My Grandmother’s Ravioli? Well this is sort of like that.
Except she’s not my grandmother- she’s my fiance’s. And she’s not a grandmother- she’s meme.
And it’s not ravioli – it’s dolma.
So Meme’s Dolma!
Dolma is the term for vegetables or cabbage or grape leaves stuffed with a seasoned meat mixture. We came over to meme’s to learn to make grape leaves, but what she does is make a big bowl of the seasoned meat mixture and then stuff grape leaves, cabbage leaves and vegetable like tomatoes and eggplants and peppers.
This post is going to cover the meat mixture. The next one will walk you through rolling grape leaves.
I am going to try my best to write this out properly, but meme is not easy to follow.
Like most grandmas, she cooks by taste and by feel. She knows what it should look like. She knows what it should taste like. She’s made this a million times, so it comes easy to her.
But here it is, the stuffing for dolma.
I suggest having everything out or having another person on hand to pass you things.
Meme is directing. Pepe is cleaning.
I’m taking pictures, while Sam and Chris write it all down.
Jeff’s capturing it all on video.
Okay. Here we go. In a large bowl, pour in two cups of medium rice which you’ve rinsed thoroughly. Meme said medium rice. Not long. Medium.
Next add in one large white onion, diced and the scooped out insides from a few tomatoes. To get the scooped out insides, cut the top off of a tomato and dig out the insides with a spoon. (Don’t cut through the tomato all the way. You want to turn the tomato into a container to hold the meat stuffs later) I asked meme how many tomatoes but she kind of shrugged. I’m guessing 3 or 4.
To the bowl add flat leaf parsley chopped up. Again, no precise measurements but I’m going to guesstimate a cup and a half to two cups.
Right? That looks like two cups?
Next add in 1 teaspoon of coriander, 1 teaspoon of the armenian red pepper that I still don’t know how to spell (Chris’s writing looks something like halibebebae – when they say it, it kind of sounds like holla baby bear) and 1 teaspoon of salt.
Next we add 1 cup of really good Greek olive oil. Meme said one cup, but then she handed Sam that coffee cup. She says she measured it out in a measuring cup, but we’re skeptical.
Now comes the meat. Meme used about a pound of ground sirloin and then another pound total of a veal, pork and beef mix. The right way to do it is to use lamb. I used to not like lamb, so meme switched it up for me. (I do like lamb now though so next time we will do it the right way).
You really need a big, big bowl for this.
To the meat, add in two thirds of a cup of tomato sauce (I think it’s just tomato puree) and a little less than a third of a cup of fresh lemon juice.
Here is the most important part. I’m quoting meme directly now. “No garlic, no dolma.” You need two “blobs” of minced garlic. From what I gather, a blob is less than a heaping tablespoon but more than a regular tablespoon.
When you have everything in the bowl, it’s time to wash your hands…
… and dig in.
And get to mixing!
Pause for a family picture!
And then as I tell him how to mix it right.
And then he finally mixes it right.
And then his arms started hurting.
But thankfully the mixing was done.
So there you have it. The stuffing for dolma. Next, a lesson in grape leaf rolling.