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Dolma (Algerian Stuffed Vegetables)

Dolma was introduced to Algerian cuisine by the Ottoman empire. It is an umbrella term for stuffed vegetables that are hollowed out and filled with stuffing; the stuffing usually consists of minced meat and rice. Algerians in particular, commonly stuff squash (dolma qar3a) and artichokes (dolma qarnoon). 

I wasn't really in the stuffing mood today so I decided to make a simple dolma merqa(sauce) with meatballs. It came out really really good. The combination of seasoned ground beef and rice with the robustly flavored sauce of lemon juice, parsley, and eggs was divine. I bet this recipe would make amazing stuffed graped leaves...hmmm, possibly upcoming blog post? You'll have to wait and see :)


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For the sauce:
Four pieces of chicken (wing, leg, or breast)
1/2 cup of chickpeas  
1 small onion
3/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons of vegetable oil
7 branches of celery

For the meatballs:
1 pound of ground beef  
1 small onion, chopped
1 cup of finely chopped parsley
2 tablespoons of white rice  
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon 
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg

For the avgolemono (egg lemon sauce):
1 egg
1/2 lemon, juiced
a few small leaves of parsley
two tablespoons of the cooked dolma sauce


Wash chicken and put it in the pot. Add the chopped onion to the pot. Add chickpeas, spices, salt, and oil, and saute on medium low heat for about 10 minutes. Then cover the chicken with water (about 5 cups). Cover the pot and turn the stove up to medium high heat; let the chicken cook while you prepare the meatballs.

In a bowl, mix together all the ingredients for the meatballs except for the egg. Once you have thoroughly mixed in all the ingredients, crack an egg on top and again, using your hands, mix together. (The egg helps to hold the meatballs together when you form them) When you're done mixing in the egg, form the meatballs.(You can also use the beef mixture to stuff any vegetable of your choice)

After the chicken has been on the stove for about 25 minutes, add the meatballs to it. Chop the celery into small chunks. After 30 minutes, add the celery to the pot. When you add the celery, turn the stove up to HIGH and let the sauce come to a boil for about two minutes, then bring it down to medium high heat and cook for about 40 more minutes.

Turn the stove off and let the
dolma cool down for a bit; like about 5 minutes. In a small bowl, beat together the ingredients for the egg lemon sauce. Add this sauce to the pot, then pick up the pot and shake it around to mix together the egg-lemon sauce with the dolma. And you're done :)

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