Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Recipe- Collard Dolma

Dolma are those little grape-leaf-wrapped bundles of rice.  You can put meat in them too- ground (William's Island Farm) lamb, or ground beef or sausage... just mix it in with the rice.  I did a Greek dinner last year and made dolma with grape leaves in my front yard.  Later in the season, when the collards were in and the grape leaves too old and tough, I discovered that collards work just as well.  They aren't as acidic and tannic as grape leaves so some people might actually prefer them.

I was lucky enough to snag the last of last winter's collards from William's Island Farm.  We might have to wait a bit longer til they are back in the market....

Not-Yo'-Flannery O'Conner Collards (see post above)

  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 small onion,  diced
  • 1 cup long-grained white rice
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/4 cup or so olive oil
  • 1 bunch chives (Crabtree)
  • 1 bunch mint (also Crabtree)
  • 1 bunch oregano- or as much you can find on your dead looking plant in the yard
  • Salt to taste
 Cook the onion and garlic in the oil over medium heat until soft and fragrant.  Add the rice and saute for a second and then add the water.  Bring to a boil, turn down to a simmer, and cook til the water is absorbed (the rice should not be quite done).  Let cool and toss with the herbs.  Set aside while you prepare the leaves...
  • 25 or so collard leaves  
  • Boiling water in a big pot
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Drizzle or two of olive oil
  • Salt
Cut extra protruding stems from the leaves but leave the main vein intact.  Blanch the leaves a few at a time til they are flexible and bright green- just a few seconds.  Let them dry on a towel a bit.  Line a pot with blanched leaves.  Make sure it is a pot that you can fit a plate all the way into.

Put a small dollop (about a teaspoon) of rice onto a leaf. Place it near the stem-side (the bottom).   Roll the rice up one turn in the leaf, then fold the sides over to form a package, and roll it up the rest of the way.  You should have a little collard bundle.

Place the bundle in the collard-lined pot.  Finish rolling the rest of the rice in the remaining blanched leaves.  Place the bundles very snugly into the pot- but only in one layer.  Pour the lemon juice on top of the dolma, drizzle some olive oil, and sprinkle some salt. Add a little bit of the blanching water to cover the dolma with liquid. Place a dinner plate over the dolma- they should be covered entirely (or almost).   Put a weight on top of the plate.  I like to use a half gallon jar filled with water.  

Place the pot on the stove.  Bring first to a boil but immediately turn it down to a gentle simmer.  Simmer for 45 minutes- checking now and then that the liquid is still covering the dolma and that the heat not too high or low.  

I prefer to refrigerate the dolma overnight with the weight still on and eat them cold the next day.  You can also eat them warm-ish the same day.  They just get very firm if left overnight.

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