8ozprepared mushroom duxellesor 8 oz finely chopped, cooked mushrooms
½cupnatural wild riceor white rice, soaked overnight in water to cover
1large clove garlicto be grated on a microplane
½teaspoonkosher saltor to taste
2ozscallions or shallotsfinely chopped
Small handful chopped Italian parsleya few Tablespoons
½teaspoonfresh ground black pepperabout 10 twists of the mill
4-5Tablespoonswild rice flouror another flour, such as all purpose
1teaspoonfresh ground cuminor to taste
⅓cupfinely chopped walnutsI used black walnuts
A few scrapes of fresh lemon zestto taste
2tablespoonsdried mushroom powderoptional
Small amount of vegetable stock or waterless than a cup (omit if you steam or sous vide the rolls)
Large hollyhock leavesas needed (about 15-20)
½ cupWild grape juice (see note) or balsamic vinegar
Extra virgin olive oilor another good tasting oil, a generous drizzle
Soak the wild rice in twice it's volume of cool water overnight, or for at least 3-4 hours.
Heat the wild grape juice in a very small pot until half of the liquid has evaporated and the juice is slightly thickened, then pour into a container, cool, refrigerate and reserve.
To prepare the holly hock leaves, soak them water seasoned with a splash of vinegar and salt to taste until they wilt. Soaking in brine helps mimic the tart flavor of preserved grape leaves. The leaves can also be pickled weeks in advance by immersing them in cold pickle liquid and holding in the fridge.
The next day, combine all stuffing ingredients in a bowl except the hollyhock leaves. Taste the stuffing for seasoning, adjust as needed until it tastes good to you, then reserve.
Wash and rinse the hollyhock leaves, then pat dry.
Filling the leaves
Fill your largest cutting board with holly hock leaves with their veins facing up, put a couple tablespoons full of filling (or as much as will fit) and wrap the packets up into packets.
Line a pay that can accommodate the packets with extra leaves, then fill with the packets (the leaves on the bottom prevent help to prevent them from scorching.
Add enough water or stock to come up about ½ inch in the pan, then put the pan on a burner, turn the heat to high, bring to a simmer, then cover and cook for 30 minutes on low heat, or until the rolls are slightly plumped and the rice is tender.
If the pan threatens to dry out, add a little more water or stock a tablespoon or two at a time, continuing to cook on low heat until the rice is tender. This is the traditional method, and, while it works, may yield rolls slightly less firm than steaming or cooking in a water bath.
To sous vide the rolls
I use this often. Leaf rolls are excellent vacuum sealed and cooked in a water bath, which makes them easy to transport, freeze, etc. To do that, cook the leaves at 175 F for two hours. The rolls may also be steamed for 30 minutes.
When the rice is tender, remove the lid and allow some of the liquid to evaporate, then remove the pan from the heat to cool. Transfer the cooled packets to a refrigerator, they’ll hold for 4-5 days.
Cutting and serving
To serve, cut the dolmas into thick, bite-sized round, put them on a serving plate, drizzle with the wild grape juice (warm it a bit if the juice seizes from it’s natural pectin to loosen it) and EVOO and serve. I garnished mine with a few burgundy amaranth leaves. Smear the cut sarmasi in the oil and sour grape sauce as you eat for the full effect.
Making the grape juice reduction
I use a reduction of hot-extracted grape juice here, but you can also use a cold extraction as I outline in my post on wild grape reduction. If you don't want to make a reduction sauce, you can also use some pomegranite molasses thinned with warm water.