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These Tripe Dolmas were inspired by an article by Soroush Niknamian on Iran’s traditional foods. I’ve made Persian-style heart, liver, and kidney kebabs dozens of times, and dolmas as well. Yet, I’d never considered Tripe Dolmas! It’s easy to substitute tripe for the ground lamb – and it’s such a nutrient-dense and pleasing option!
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 2½ hours
- 1 15-ounce jar of grape leaves in vinegar (about 50 leaves)
- 1 pound tripe, cleaned of any dirt, debris, or strong odor
- Aromatics (optional), such as carrot, celery, and bay leaf
- 1 cup basmati rice
- 1½ teaspoons salt
- ½ cup ghee
- 1 onion, sliced in half moons
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 cup green onions, chopped
- 1 cup dill
- ¼ cup tarragon
- ¼ cup mint
- 2 heads parsley
- ½ cup raisins
- ¼ cup pine nuts (optional)
- 2 teaspoons dried summer savory
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- Pinch of saffron
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 1-2 cups broth
- ¼ cup lime juice (juice of 2 small limes)
- For the tripe, cover with water and bring to a boil. Skim any foam that rises, and simmer for 10 minutes. Then drain tripe into a colander. If there is any foam or debris left on the tripe, rinse it off. Wash your pot, return tripe to pot, cover with fresh water, and bring to a boil again. Skim any foam that arises, then reduce to a simmer. Add optional aromatics, cover, and simmer for two hours or until very soft and tender to bite into. Strain tripe and discard aromatics. Cut tripe into strips, then chop into pieces the size of beans or peas. This can be completed up to two days in advance with the tripe stored in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.
- For the rice, rinse, stirring a bit, until the water running off the rice no longer looks milky white and runs clear. Add the rinsed rice to a pot with a quart of water and ½ teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil, then cook, partially covered, over medium heat for 20 minutes. Drain the rice into a large strainer or colander.
- Meanwhile, prepare all other ingredients and measure spices before cooking, which will go quickly. For the saffron, mix with 2 tablespoons of boiling water and stir to dissolve as best you can. Reserve saffron water.
- Heat a large pot on medium and add ghee. When ghee has melted, add onion and garlic and let cook for 3-4 minutes to soften. Add tripe and rice. Mix well to cover these evenly in ghee and to break up any clumps in the rice. Next, add green onions, dill, tarragon, mint, parsley, raisins, optional pine nuts, summer savory, red pepper flakes, cinnamon, saffron water, pepper, and 1 teaspoon salt. Mix well; continue to mix until the herbs become fragrant. Add 1 cup of broth and scrape up any rice or brown bits stuck to the bottom of the pot. Continue to mix well to improve hydration of stuffing mix. If the pot is still dry, add another cup of broth; if the mix is liquidy at all, cook off the broth, but remove from the heat before herbs and rice stick to the pot. Add lime juice and mix well. Taste for seasonings, and add more salt or lime juice or raisins, if needed. You should want to eat this filling by the spoonful. It should be pleasantly sour.
- Drain grape leaves, rinse, and dry on a towel. Nip off any hard stem ends with your fingernails or a knife, if still attached to the leaves. Add small amount of stuffing to each grape leaf. Fold the sides and roll up. If there are any holes or tears in the leaves as you lay them out, rip off a bit from an extra leaf (reserved for this purpose) and patch from the inside before you add filling. Repeat, filling all the leaves and placing them in a dish.
Notes on Preparing Tripe
I’ve realized that whether you have fresh or bleached tripe, both require rinsing and cleaning before cooking. Blanket and Honeycomb tripe require similar preparation.
First, with fresh tripe, you can optionally remove any fat or extraneous membranes from the back (or outside) of the stomach. These will be tender after cooking, but sometimes they may have grass or sand embedded that is otherwise nearly impossible to rinse and clean. Removing the sections of fat or the whole membrane is a good option in this case.
Next, carefully scrub and rinse any sand or debris from between the folds or lining of the tripe. This may be done with not-quite-boiling vinegar, citrus juice (room temperature), or abrasive water mixtures including flour and/or salt.
Personally, I forgo these aids and just scrub each fold under running water by hand. I sometimes use a fresh, halved lemon to clean my hands after this step.
For bleached tripe, soak in acidulated water (with 1 part vinegar or lime juice to 2 parts water) for 30 minutes. Rinse and repeat at least three times or until the bleach smell has been removed.
Next, parboil the tripe for 10 minutes. Discard the water and rinse the tripe well. It’s now ready for use!
Book tripe is a bit more delicate and requires rinsing the “pages” and, in between, bringing to a quick boil, and finally rinsing in cold water before use.
Reprinted with permission from Janine Farzin’s website, Offally Good Cooking. See many more recipes and sign up for her mailing list at offallygoodcooking.com.
Photo © Janine Farzin
Published in the Journal of Health and Healing™
Summer 2023 | Volume 47, Number 2
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