Dolma (Armenian Stuffed Veggies)

Dolma : Hye Thyme Cafe

This is another dish that’s great for a chilly fall evening. Whenever I hear someone mention they have a surplus of zucchini and don’t know what to do with them, this is what immediately comes to mind. I just started using Quinoa recently, so I haven’t had a chance to try it, but if you’re trying to eat better carbs and want to omit the rice, I’m sure you could substitute it with Quinoa. If you try it before me, let me know how it turns out. 🙂

If you’re not familiar with Quinoa, it has been around for thousands of years, and the Incas are said to have referred to it as the Mother of All Grains. There may be other forms, but the ones that I’m aware of are the seeds (what I’ve started using in place of rice sometimes), flour (which I just used for the first time last week to make crackers), and flakes (which I haven’t come across yet but see a lot of recipes using the flakes in combination with the flour). Quinoa is steadily gaining popularity here in the States and is appreciated for it’s protein content. OK, enough about that.

For the Dolma, you can use lots of different squashes, peppers, etc., but I grew up eating it in Tomatoes, Green Bell Peppers, and Zucchini. A lot of people roll it in cabbage leaves as well, but I’m not personally a cabbage fan…except in a traditional New England Boiled Dinner on St. Patty’s Day! I recently added Red Bell Peppers to the mix, and I think that’s my new favorite.

Dolma : Hye Thyme Cafe

For the filling, you will need . . .

1 1/2 lb ground beef and/or lamb
1 onion,diced
2-3 T fresh chopped parsley
1 t dried oregano
1 can of tomato sauce (I always use Hunts)
3 T fresh lemon juice
1/2 c rice (I only use Uncle Ben’s)
Salt and pepper

Dolma : Hye Thyme CafeFirst you will want to slice the tops off of your tomatoes, setting them aside to use later. Scoop the flesh out of the tomatoes into a bowl. Cut the tops off of your peppers, setting them aside with the tomato tops, and pull out the pith and seeds. Slice the stem ends off of your zucchini. If they are very long, go ahead and cut them in half, then core out the center (not quite to the very end), and discard the pulp.

Dolma : Hye Thyme Cafe
Dolma : Hye Thyme Cafe

To the bowl with the tomato pulp in it, add 4-5 oz of the tomato sauce, keeping the rest to use later, then add the rest of the filling ingredients, giving them a good mix, then stuffing the veggies. Don’t forget to put their hats back on. 🙂

Dolma : Hye Thyme Cafe

Put them all in whatever pot you can fit them in, then pour in enough beef broth and/or water to cover them. Add 1 or 2 cloves of garlic and the rest of the tomato sauce. Cover the pot and bring it to a boil, then turn down to a simmer and cook for about 40″ or so until cooked through.

Dolma : Hye Thyme Cafe