I absolutely love cooking with pomegranate juice. Not only is it absolutely delicious – straight out of the bottle or infused into anything and everything – it imparts gorgeous color into everything it touches (though, when it touches my clothes, that beautiful scarlet color is not quite so desirable)
Pomegranate glazed tofu, pomegranate vinaigrette, and, of course, these dolmas (dolmades?).
I bought grape leaves on a whim one day, thinking that when the craving struck, I’d go out and buy the rest of the classic dolma ingredients. That didn’t quite happen. As is often the case, I found myself in a whirl of kitchen madness on my day off from work and felt like whipping up anything and everything I could. The jar of grape leaves caught my eye, and I said to hell with the white rice, mint, dill, and whatnot and scrounged around my cabinets for substitutes.
So, I conjured up my own simple recipe and it turned out absolutely delicious and surprisingly similar to traditional dolmas. Pomegranate is classic Mediterranean fare, so it’s really not such a stretch.
– 3/4 cup brown rice
– 1/2 cup pomegranate juice
– 1 cup vegetable stock
– 1/2 – 1 cup water
– 1 onion, diced
– 30 (ish) grape leaves
– 1 1/2 tablespoons sucanat or brown sugar
– olive oil
– 1/2 cup walnuts, toasted (optional)
- Put rice, juice, stock, and 1/2 cup water into a pot and bring to a boil. Once boiling, turn down to simmer and cook for about 35 minutes. You’ll want the rice to be a bit undercooked, as it will continue cooking inside the leaves.
- In the meantime, saute onions in a bit of oil over medium heat until just translucent
- Blanch grape leaves a few at a time in boiling water and set aside
- Cut stems off of leaves
- Combine rice, cooked onions, sugar, and salt to taste. Add walnuts, if using. allow to cool for 20 or so minutes.
- Lay one grape leaf on flat surface, vein-side-up and place a spoonful of rice filling at the stem-end of the leaf.
- Fold stem-end over rice, fold sides in, and roll up the rest of the leaf (see below for visual instruction)
- Place rolled dolmas in a wide pan (in one layer) and fill up with about 1/2 inch of water. To prevent burning, line the pan with extra/ripped leaves
- Simmer over low heat until all the water has evaporated.