Saturday, March 2, 2013

Mom's Georgian Tolma

I previously posted a little blurb about my mom's Georgian Tolma (which resembles Turkish dolma) and I finally got a chance to make it. So, without further ado, let's begin.

Serves about 8 (depending on how much people eat).

Vegetables you can stuff
  • Sweet peppers (any color you like, mom usually gets red and green)
  • Small cabbage leaves
  • Small collard green leaves (if you have large leaves you can cut them down to size)
  • Eggplants 
  • Tomatoes (pulp removed)
  • 1 pound of ground beef or 1/2 ground beef and 1/2 ground pork
  • Tomato pulp
  • Finely minced: onion, garlic, cilantro, parsley, and basil
  • 1/3 cup uncooked rice 
  • 1 box (1 quart) of chicken broth or boiled water
  • 1/2  onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup of tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 tsp tomato paste (optional, it will make the color richer)
  • Salt to taste
Preparing vegetables to be stuffed
First, you will need to soften the cabbage leaves and collard greens in boiling water so that they are easy to roll when stuffed.
  • Blanch 10 cabbage leaves at a time in boiling water until soft enough to form into rolls (about 5 minutes). Trim the thick portion of the stem (but do not remove completely) so that the leaf is easier to roll (see Figure 1).
  • Blanch 10 collard green leaves as you did the cabbage leaves, but this time it should take less than 5 minutes until soft. 
Figure 1: Blanching the cabbage leaves in boiling water, trimming the stem, and rolling the stuffed leaf.

If you're using eggplant and tomatoes, cut off the top and then remove the insides to create space for the filling. Save the tops and set aside. They will be replaced after stuffing.

Filling preparation
  • Mix all the filling ingredients by hand 
  • Add 1/2 cup of water and then mix again by hand
  • Next, if using peppers, eggplant, or tomatoes, add the filling to the hollowed interior. If using cabbage or collards, roll the filling as shown in Figure 2.
Figure 2: Stuffing the vegetables.

Stock preparation
  • Sauté chopped onions in olive oil in a large pot
  • Add 1/2 cup of chopped tomatoes
  • Add 1 tsp tomato paste (optional)
  • Simmer the contents for 3 minutes and then add stuffed vegetables (Figure 3).
  • Add boiled water or chicken broth to just barely cover the stuffed vegetables.
  • Add salt to taste and cover the pot. Let it come to a boil and then simmer until rice is cooked, about 30-40 minutes. 
Figure 3: Placing stuffed vegetables in the pot. 

Finally, the dish is complete. We served it with fresh cucumber salad and bread. Enjoy!

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