Guide to SKOPJE

Stuffed onions from Azerbaijan

This weekend the team of Balkon 3 decided to present you one traditional recipe from Azerbaijan, the host country of this year Eurovision Song Contest in Baku. While expecting the tonight’s finale we suggest you to prepare stuffed onion or “solgan dolmasi” (as it is called in Azerbaijan) for your Saturday’s lunch. In Azerbaijan, as in Turkey and Macedonia, the term “dolmasi” is commonly used for all the specialties stuffed with  vegetables. The onion dolma is a actually a tasty alternative for our stuffed peppers.

Ingredients:

– 8-9 large onions

– 300 g minced veal or lamb or a combination of the two

– 50 g rice

– 50 g sheep fat (optional)

– 50 g melted butter

– 1/2 tspn ground cinnamon

– 1 bunch of coriander and dill (all optional)

– salt and pepper

– a few strands of saffron (optional)

– 100 g yogurt

Preparation:

Peel the onions and slice off 2 cm from their tops. Use a small vegetable knife to cut out and remove the central layers of the onions. Keep the tops to use as lids. Take half the onion centres and mince together with the meat (this helps to make the filling juicy). Add butter to the mince and fry over a low to medium heat for 15 minutes or so, stirring well, until brown.

Boil the rice for around 10 minutes in plenty of salted water, until partially cooked. Add the parboiled rice, cinnamon, salt, pepper and chopped herbs (if using) to the filling and cook for another five minutes. Remove from the heat and leave to cool. Stuff each onion with filling and stand in a medium-sized pan, covering each onion with its top as a lid. The onions need to be packed quite firmly into the pan in order to keep their shape.

Add bouillon or water flavoured with saffron to the pan until it comes less than half way up the onions. Cover the pan and simmer for 20 minutes or more until the onions are soft. Add a sprinkling of cinnamon to the yoghurt. Serve the onion dolmasi with the yoghurt and any remaining juice from the pan.

Bon appétit!

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