½cupnatural wild rice + 3 tablespoonsseparated (you cannot use black paddy rice here)
2tablespoonsdried mushroom powdersuch as porcini or black trumpet
½teaspoonfresh ground black pepper
1ozchopped fresh Italian parsley or cilantro big handful
½cupchopped black walnuts
2large cloves garlic
1medium yellow onion6 oz
1teaspoonfresh ground cumin or 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2cupfeta cheese Optional, consider adding the cheese if you don't make a dip to go alongside the dolmas since it helps to add salt
Fresh grated lemon zest, or finely chopped preserved lemon rind, to taste optional
Lemon yogurt *see note
Soak the rice
Soak the rice in 3 cups of water overnight.
The next day, drain the rice and reserve.
Make the filling
Finely chop the onion and sweat in the oil, seasoning with a pinch of salt and pepper. When the onion is translucent, add the mushroom powder and grate in the garlic cloves with a microplane grater (they can be mashed to a paste, alternately) and cook for a minute more, then transfer to a bowl with the mushrooms duxelles and remaining ingredients except the grape leaves. Taste the mixture to judge the seasoning and adjust to your taste (the rice will be crunchy) keep in mind that it should be heavily seasoned if you will eat them cold.
Rinse the grape leaves and pat dry, then spread them out in batches, vein-side up. Put a tablespoon of the filling into the middle of each leaf then loosely roll up into packages.
Lay the rolls into a pot lined with a steam insert, or put them on a baking sheet with a rack, filling the tray with 1 inch of water.
Steam the stuffed grape leaves for 45 minutes, testing to make sure the rice is tender, then cool and store. The finished rolls will last for 4 days in the fridge, and can be frozen.
To make lemon yogurt as I have pictured, take 1 cup of thick Greek yogurt and season it to taste with fresh lemon juice, lemon zest, salt, and a clove of grated garlic. Thin it as needed with a splash of heavy cream.