Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Dolma Casserole

So.. Dolma Casserole.  It's kinda like rice and meat mixture with veggies in a tomato paste, only a thousand times yummier.  Man I love this stuff.

This is what my GG and Lonewolf's grandmother had to say about this heavenly dish.

"Dolma, as used by my family of Armenians, refers to vegetables stuffed with a meat mixture.  The mixture I am using in my casserole is the same used for stuffing but to save time, I chop the vegetables up and layer them with the meat in a casserole.  The taste is roughly the same, some think it is better, but the prep time is cut significantly because you don’t have to find perfect veggies that will hollow out nicely for stuffing."

I love it when we're all about saving time, since as you know, all my spare time is spent on laundry.  Oh you didn't know? Yeah, you will.  I'll take photos.

This is made in two steps.  The meat mixture, and the veggie mixture before it's all combined together into one big dish of yummy goodness.

So, for the meat mixture you'll need to mix the following into a bowl and season to taste.

1/2 lb ground lamb and 1/2 lb ground beef.

1/2 cup of rice and 1/2 cup of large grain bulgur (I use #4 size).  You can bump that up to a 3/4 cup of each if you like it a bit more grainy.  Around these parts there are a lot of Armenian stores around who carry bulgur so it's relatively easy to get for me.  However, you can get it online if you need to.  It's worth the trouble.

1 can of diced tomatoes and 1-2 cans of 12-16 oz tomato sauce.  We like Hunt's.

Seasonings - lemon pepper, season salt, garlic salt, and onion salt.

A handful of chopped up parsley.

It will end up looking something like this.

Then, in a totally separate bowl (I don't know why, there's a little zen required here, just go with it) chop up the following veggies into bite sized bits.

1 large or 2 Japanese eggplants, 2-3 bell peppers in any color or mixed colors, 2 large zucchini squash and 2-3 large onions.  (Saying onions always comes out cajun to me, usually followed with garlic, pap-rika.. anyone remember that guy?)

Mixed, cut up veggies look like this.  In case you were confused! I want to note here that if you want more veggies and less meat, you can make twice as much veggie mixture and divide the meat into two casseroles.  This is great for feeding large crowds, or if you just can't get enough of the stuff after you try it!

In a large casserole dish, put several slices of butter around the bottom.

Then layer the veggies and meat until you run out of stuff or fill the casserole.  If you have extra veggies, cook them with some tomato sauce and add it to the casserole after the cooking.  Cooking causes the bulk to lesson, so there will be room.  Trust me here people, I'm an amateur at this.  I know what I'm talking about.

Rinse your meat bowl and tomato cans out with a little bit of water and add that water to the casserole.  The bulgur and rice will expand so you might have to add more water or another can of tomato sauce if it starts to look too dry.  A lot of this will depend on your oven and the size of your casserole dish, so you have to watch it.

Put the casserole in the over at 430 degrees.  After 30 mintues check it and if it's bubbling, turn the oven down to 375 degrees.  It should take about 2 hours to completely cook depending on your casserole size.  When the meat looks cooked and the rice and bulgur have expanded, you're done!

Now don't judge before you taste this.  I know it doesn't look like much, but man, your taste buds will love you forever. 

Serve with yogurt (which I will be showing you how to make later people!!), yogurt cheese - Laibne (I'll explain this, but I don't think we know how to make it at home) or sour cream as a topping.

That's it.  Whew!  Can't believe we got our first recipe under our belts.. literally, this stuff will definitely have you coming back for seconds and maybe thirds!

Seriously.. Thoughts?

1 comment:

  1. Have you tried this with just bulgar? Or do you need the combo of both rices?