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Tag Archives | stuffed cabbage leaves

Swiss chard stuffed with ground meat and rice – Kis Sarmasi

Stuffed winter greens or Swiss chard with ground meat, rice and herbs; Kis Sarmasi

Stuffed winter greens or Swiss chard with ground meat, rice and herbs; Kis Sarmasi

Any sight of large leaves gets me excited with the prospect of stuffing them. I grew up with my mother’s delicious stuffed vine leaves, yaprak sarma  and stuffed cabbage leaves, lahana sarmasi ,one of our favorite meals.  As a family affair, my father would prepare the leaves and mother and whoever around the table would o the stuffing. And of course, everyone would be very keen to do a “quality check” after cooking, just to make sure they’re cooked 🙂 Happy days.

Turkish people are very fond of stuffed vegetables or dolmas as we call in Turkish. Stuffed tomatoes, peppers, zucchini and eggplants are the year round favorites. Cabbage leaves are stuffed in winter and vine leaves and zucchini flowers herald a fresh option in spring time. The success of any great dolma, which literally means “stuffed”, relies heavily on getting the stuffing right. With a dollop of yoghurt or a slice of lemon aside, they are utterly delicious. For a vegetarian option, try this stuffed vine leaves with aromatic rice and herb filling; Zeytinyagli sarma; they are simply irresistible, with a wedge of lemon aside.

I am passionate about my homeland’s wholesome Turkish cuisine; many authentic Turkish recipes, regional specialties are included at my cookery book, Ozlem’s Turkish Table, Recipes from My Homeland. If you would like to get a signed copy, you can order at this link.

Signed copies of Ozlem’s Turkish Table book, available to order at this link

 

Stuffed winter greens or Swiss chard with ground meat and rice in hot pepper sauce - delicious

Stuffed winter greens or Swiss chard with ground meat and rice in hot pepper sauce

I got some wonderful leafy winter greens, (similar to Swiss chard, though with a slimmer stem) from my local market. Like cabbage leaves, they need to soften up first so that they can be stuffed. With a southern Turkish addition of  Turkish hot pepper paste sauce, biber salcasi (or a tomato based sauce) and garlic yoghurt aside, they were so delicious. You can use cabbage leaves or Swiss card here too. Please don’t worry about  making the perfect roll; as long as they’re not over filled, they stay intact and taste delicious. I hope you enjoy these delicious rolls, or sarmas, as much as we did.

Stuffed winter greens or Swiss chard with ground meat and rice – Kis Sarmasi
 
Serves: 4 -6
Ingredients
  • 2 bunches (about 400 gr) Winter greens with large leaves or Swiss Chard
  • For the filling:
  • 225gr/8oz/1 cup ground beef or ground lamb (ground turkey works well too)
  • 2 small or 1 large onion, grated
  • 110gr/4oz/1/2 cup long grain rice (or whole grain basmati rice for gluten-free option)
  • 45ml/3 tbsp. flat leaf (Italian) parsley, finely chopped
  • 15ml/1 tbsp. olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Juice of 1 lemon, 200 ml/ 1 cup (or little more) water and 15ml/1 tbsp. olive oil for cooking
  • Tomato/red pepper paste sauce:
  • 15 ml/ 1 tbsp. Turkish hot pepper paste or tomato paste (for milder taste)
  • 30ml/2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 60ml/ 4 tbsp. water
  • Turkish red pepper flakes or chili flakes to sprinkle (optional)
  • Garlic yoghurt sauce:
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic, crushed in sea salt and finely chopped
  • 8 fl oz./1 cup natural plain yoghurt
  • Salt to taste
  • ½ tsp. dried mint (optional)
Instructions
  1. Large leafy greens like Swiss chard is ideal for stuffing, making sarma.
  2. Bring a pan of water to boil. Cut the stalks of your winter greens (if you’re using Swiss chard, you may need to cut the stem and separate from the leaves).
  3. Refresh the wilted leaves in a bowl of cold water
  4. Place the fresh, trimmed leaves in to the boiling water until they wilt, for about 25-30 seconds. Drain and refresh the leaves in a bowl of cold water, this will help retain their color. Then drain the leaves and spread on a tray, ready for stuffing.
  5. Place the filling ingredients in a bowl and knead well.
  6. Grate the onion and put with the remaining filling ingredients in a bowl. Season with salt and ground black pepper and bind them all with 1 tbsp. olive oil and knead well.
  7. Lay one of the leaves on a flat surface and place 1 tbsp. (depending on the size of the leaf, adjust a little less or more but avoid over filling) of the stuffing at near end of the leaf (towards you). Bring the top end of the leaf over the stuffing.
  8. Now fold in the sides and then roll into a tight log. Repeat with the remaining filling and leaves.
  9. Arrange the stuffed leaves, seam side down, in a wide, deep pan. Pack them quite tightly in circles, this will keep them intact. You may need to make more than one layer, depending on the size of the pan.
  10. Mix 200ml water with the juice of lemon and 1 tbsp. olive oil and pour over the stuffed leaves. This liquid should cover at least half way up the top layer; add some more water if you need to. Season with salt and place a wide flat plate over the rolls (so that they stay intact).
  11. Cover the pan and turn the heat to medium. Once it starts to bubble, cook over low heat for about 40 minutes, or until the filling is cooked and the rolls are tender.
  12. While the rolls (sarma,as we call in Turkish) are cooking, prepare the garlic yoghurt. Simply combine the chopped garlic with yoghurt and mix well. You can season with sea salt and ½ tsp. dried mint, if you like.
  13. For the hot pepper paste (or tomato paste) sauce; stir in 1 tbsp. Turkish hot pepper paste, biber salcasi or tomato paste and 2 tbsp. olive oil in a small pan, over low heat. Stir and pour 4-5 tbsp. water, gently simmer for a minute. Season with salt and ground black pepper if you like; the sauce is ready.
  14. Drizzle the hot pepper paste sauce over the cooked rolls and sprinkle a little Turkish red pepper flakes (if you like) and serve hot, with garlic yoghurt aside.
Serves 4 -6

Preparation time: 40-45 minutes                    Cooking time: 45 minutes

2 bunches (about 400 gr) Winter greens with large leaves or Swiss Chard

For the filling:

225gr/8oz/1 cup ground beef or ground lamb (ground turkey works well too)

2 small or 1 large onion, grated

110gr/4oz/1/2 cup long grain rice (or whole grain basmati rice for gluten-free option)

45ml/3 tbsp. flat leaf (Italian) parsley, finely chopped

15ml/1 tbsp. olive oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Juice of 1 lemon, 200 ml/ 1 cup (or little more) water and 15ml/1 tbsp. olive oil for cooking

Tomato/red pepper paste sauce:

15 ml/ 1 tbsp. Turkish hot pepper paste or tomato paste (for milder taste)

30ml/2 tbsp. olive oil

60ml/ 4 tbsp. water

Turkish red pepper flakes or chili flakes to sprinkle (optional)

Garlic yoghurt sauce:

1-2 cloves of garlic, crushed in sea salt and finely chopped

8 fl oz./1 cup natural plain yoghurt

Salt to taste

½ tsp. dried mint (optional)

 

Large leafy greens like Swiss chard is ideal for stuffing, making sarma.

Large leafy greens like Swiss chard is ideal for stuffing, making sarma.

Bring a pan of water to boil. Cut the stalks of your winter greens (if you’re using Swiss chard, you may need to cut the stem and separate from the leaves).

Refresh the wilted leaves in a bowl of cold water

Refresh the wilted leaves in a bowl of cold water

Place the fresh, trimmed leaves in to the boiling water until they wilt, for about 25-30 seconds. Drain and refresh the leaves in a bowl of cold water, this will help retain their color. Then drain the leaves and spread on a tray, ready for stuffing.

Place the filling ingredients in a bowl and knead well.

Place the filling ingredients in a bowl and knead well.

Grate the onion and put with the remaining filling ingredients in a bowl. Season with salt and ground black pepper and bind them all with 1 tbsp. olive oil and knead well.

Lay one of the leaves on a flat surface and place 1 tbsp. stuffing.

Lay one of the leaves on a flat surface and place 1 tbsp. stuffing.

Lay one of the leaves on a flat surface and place 1 tbsp. (depending on the size of the leaf, adjust a little less or more but avoid over filling) of the stuffing at near end of the leaf (towards you). Bring the top end of the leaf over the stuffing.

fold in the sides of the leaf

fold in the sides of the leaf

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now fold in the sides and then roll into a tight log. Repeat with the remaining filling and leaves.

Then roll into a tight log.

Then roll into a tight log.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Arrange the stuffed leaves, seam side down, in a wide, deep pan. Pack them quite tightly in circles, this will keep them intact. You may need to make more than one layer, depending on the size of the pan.

Place the stuffed leaves seam side down in a wide, deep pan.

Place the stuffed leaves seam side down in a wide, deep pan.

Mix 200ml water with the juice of lemon and 1 tbsp. olive oil and pour over the stuffed leaves. This liquid should cover at least half way up the top layer; add some more water if you need to. Season with salt and place the pan over a medium heat. Once it starts to bubble, place a wide flat plate over the rolls (so that they stay intact). Cover and cook over low heat for about 40 minutes, or until the filling is cooked and the rolls are tender.

Place a wide flat plate over the rolls (so that they stay intact).

Place a wide flat plate over the rolls (so that they stay intact).

While the rolls (sarma, as we call in Turkish) are cooking, prepare the garlic yoghurt. Simply combine the chopped garlic with yoghurt and mix well. You can season with sea salt and ½ tsp. dried mint, if you like.

For the hot pepper paste (or tomato paste) sauce; stir in 1 tbsp. Turkish hot pepper paste, biber salcasi or tomato paste and 2 tbsp. olive oil in a small pan, over low heat. Stir and pour 4 tbsp. water, gently simmer for a minute. Season with salt and ground black pepper if you like; the sauce is ready.

Drizzle the hot pepper paste sauce over the cooked rolls and sprinkle a little Turkish red pepper flakes (if you like) and serve hot, with garlic yoghurt aside.

Stuffed winter leaves with ground meat and aromatic rice; Kis Sarmasi

Stuffed winter leaves with ground meat and aromatic rice; Kis Sarmasi

Afiyet Olsun,

Ozlem

Note: The stems or any broken leaves and a bit of left over filling can turn into a delicious meal. Simply chop the leaves and stems and sauté with some olive oil and garlic, adding the filling if any left over. You can add a few tomatoes in it or crack an egg; it would make a delicious bite.

 

 

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Cabbage Leaves Stuffed with Ground Meat and Rice – Lahana Sarmasi


Stuffed cabbage leaves, lahana sarmasi, delicious with dollop of yoghurt aside

Stuffed cabbage leaves, lahana sarmasi, delicious with dollop of yoghurt aside

Stuffed cabbage leaves are popular in winter time at Turkish homes. This wonderful, healthy and comforting dish is one of my childhood favorites; always brings lots of pleasant memories. I remember us all sitting around the kitchen table preparing the cabbage leaves ready to be stuffed, eagerly waiting for them to be cooked. Once it is cooked, we children all used to camp around the pot, offering (and sometimes helping ourselves) to “quality check” if the stuffed leaves cooked well. We loved eating these treats dipping into plain yoghurt, happy days 🙂

I hope you have a go at making these fantastic dolmas; it is really not as hard as you would imagine and will certainly impress your guests. The sharpness of lemon brings extra zing and goes very well with cabbage.

Serves 4
Preparation time : 35 minutes Cooking time : 35-40 minutes

1 medium white cabbage – brings out about 25 leaves
250gr/9oz/generous 1 cup lean ground (minced) lamb or beef
115gr/4oz/1/2 cup long grain rice, rinsed and drained
1 medium onion, finely chopped
6 cloves of garlic (optional)
1 bunch of flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
15ml/1tablespoon tomato paste
2 teaspoons red pepper flakes (optional)
2 teaspoon dried mint
60ml/4 tablespoons olive oil
8fl oz/1 cup hot water
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt and ground pepper to taste

1 small bowl of natural (plain) yoghurt
1 lemon, cut into wedges

Cut the cabbage in half vertically and cut out the hearts. Plunge into a pot of salted boiling water and cook for about 5-8 minutes. The leaves should be tender but not over cooked. Rinse under cold running water and carefully remove the outer leaves. Cut away the hard central vein, resulting in about 25 pieces of cabbage leaves, about the size of your hand.

For the filling; put the ground meat in a bowl and stir in the onions, parsley, dried mint, red pepper flakes, 2 tablespoons olive oil and the tomato paste. Season with salt and pepper and knead, until they all combined well. Add the rice and mix well with a spoon, taking care not to break the rice grains.

Take one of the cabbage leaves on a flat surface and spoon a walnut size of the filling at the base of each leaf. Fold the edges over the filling and roll up to form a chunky finger sized dolma. Repeat with the remaining leaves and filling.

Pour the remaining olive oil in a deep, wide pan. Arrange the dolmas in the pan seam side down and side by side. If you like, scatter the garlic cloves amongst the dolmas – once they are cooked the cloves will be moist and juicy, and will add a wonderful flavor. Mix the lemon juice, hot water and a pinch of salt, then pour over the dolmas. The liquid should come at least halfway up the top layer, so you may need to add extra liquid. Place a heavy plate over the leaves to stop them from unraveling, followed by a lid or foil.

Cook over low heat for about 35-40 minutes, until the dolmas are tender. Remove from the heat and let the dolmas rest for about 10 minutes. That will help the dolmas to come out without breaking and make the flavor even better.

Serve hot, with yoghurt by the side and lemon wedges to squeeze over.

Note: You can also use grapevine leaves for dolma, yaprak sarmasi with either using the vegetarian aromatic rice stuffing or meat and rice stuffing.

Afiyet Olsun,

Ozlem

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