Chefs are often asked, if this was your last day on earth what would you eat? (Dolma) Stuffed onions and grape leaves would be my answer. There are many version of these little beauties, but I feel the Iraqi style of stuffed grape leaves have more spice than their Lebanese or Greek cousins as they tend to be more lemony. This version gets its tartness from the pomegranate syrup and smokiness from the cumin.
I will warn you, this is time consuming project. I suggest you get all your ingredients ready, and get ready for a Netflix marathon while you roll the grape leaves. If you have extra hands (like guests) have them pitch in. I promise, it's completely worth it.
Leftovers can be frozen for up to six months. I wrap about a dozen dolma in a plastic wrap and pop into a zip top bag. They are great appetizers for last minute guests or even a quick lunch.
2 cups jasmine rice
1 cup finely chopped parsley
½ cup olive oil
¼ cup pomegranate molasses
¼ cup tomato paste
2 tsp. ground cumin
2 tsp. ground coriander
2 tsp. curry powder
1 jar grape leaves, in brine (rinse leaves in warm water and set aside to drain)
2 cups chicken stock
1-2 cups water
1 (14-oz.) can diced tomatoes in juice
ground black pepper, to taste
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. salt
4 medium potatoes, sliced
2 tsp. ground sumac, plus more to garnish
Greek-style yogurt, to serve
This step is optional, cut potatoes into round, and fry until golden brown. You may leave them raw as they will steam during cooking.
Make the stuffing: Combine rice, parsley, oil, pomegranate molasses, tomato paste, cumin, coriander, curry powder, salt and pepper, and 1 ½ cups water in a bowl; let sit until the rice begins to soak up some of the liquid, about 30 minutes to an hour. When you are ready to use, drain rice to remove excess liquid and set a side.
Line pot with potato slices.
Lay the grap leave flat, vein side up, add 1 tablespoon of the rice mixture. Fold over the two sides,of the grape leaves-length wise, and then fold up over the rice, and then roll up. Repeat until all the grape leaves are stuffed. Layer in the rolled grape leaves, then top with the diced tomatoes Place a plate upside down on top, then place a heavy object over the dish, such as a large can or a clean brick (wash,dry it and wrap in foil).
Pour 2 cups of broth and the remainder of sauce from the rice mixture, then add water until you have covered the plate by 1/2 inch. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a low simmer and cook for 2-2.5 hours. Remove from heat and allow to rest for one hour. Remove the weight, and plate, divide rolls among serving plates and sprinkle with sumac; serve with a dollop of Greek/or Labneh yogurt. Dolma can be enjoyed warm or at room temperature or straight out of the fridge if you are me.