What are your favorite fillings?
Greek-style? Persian-style? California-style? Meat? No meat?
I've had some excellent stuffed grape leaves at restaurants, and I've also had some truly awful ones.
Our "favorite" family activity is to make large potfuls of dolma. We line the bottom of the pots with chunks of root vegetables which end up absorbing the goodness. Tedious to make, but they are so worth it.
They keep relatively well - in fact they are wonderful microwaved later... which tells me I should be able to find good ones which don't have the off-taste I often find in store-bought dolmas. And why are they so expensive?
Thanks for the post on dolma's. I didn't even know they were served warm until last week (haven't tried them yet though).
That might be my problem with dolmas. I never liked them. However, the type I've had have been cold and stuffed with rice.
What would be a California-style dolma?
Wiki on dolmas
Lamb and rice with lemon, no tomato. Sometimes I add pine nuts or a touch of cinnamon to the mix. I learned to roll grapeleaves when I worked in a Lebanese restaurant, so I would assume I like Lebanese style. *lol*
In my experience, bad grocery store grapeleaves are usually the vegetarian ones -- I think they might just get held too long because they do keep so well, and aren't governed by the same kinds of "when it expires" regulations as products with meat in them.
And I'm with rworange -- what is California Style???
"Dolma" is actually a very forgiving, inclusive word in any case.
California style dolma would be the non-rule-bound, anything goes, "none of the above" dolmas made with California grape leaves and seasonal fresh produce. Fillings may include any sensible combination of pork, chicken, duck, seafood (as well as beef or lamb), varieties of rice, veggies, herbs, goat cheese, fruits and nuts.
Only one rule in my book: it should go well with good yogurt.
Onion, garlic, rigani, rice, chicken stock. Pork, mint. Wrap. Beef stock, lemon juice, butter. Sorry - I had to write the ingredients in order or I'd leave something out!
They get eaten hot out of the pot, then warm out of the pot, then cold until they run out! I agree they are a pain to make but I never buy them as they have always been awful. That said, I find making them far less stressful now that I buy the leaves pre-blanched and brined, having to start the process by picking the leaves from teh vine and blanch them was what made the exercise terribly sweaty. (Big pot of boiling water on a hot summers day...)
My favorite are the ones my mom used to make -- lamb, rice, lemon, mint, tomatoes, dill, onions, butter. She also used to make them with fresh grape leaves. It makes a huge difference!