This recipe comes from the region of Bayburt. These dolmas are a spring specialty as they rely on fresh seasonal leaves (eveliks) and lor (a fresh ricotta-like cheese).
200g spring onion, plus 2 tbsp extra
300g freshly churned butter
200g cracked wheat bulgur
Pinch of tarhun (spice found in Turkish/Lebanese grocery shops)
1/2 cup fresh cow’s milk
2 free-range eggs, hard boiled
750g fresh lor (a fresh cheese similar to ricotta)
1kg freshly picked evelik (a leaf similar to lamb’s ear)
2 onions, chopped
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Chop the white stems of the spring onion. Melt half the butter in a frypan over a medium heat and cook the spring onions. Add bulgur, tarhun, salt and milk. Lower heat and cover. Simmer for 30 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
Finely chop hard-boiled eggs and place in a bowl. Add lor cheese and 2 tablespoons of the extra spring onions. Stir gently together, trying not to mash the hard-boiled egg.
Blanch the evelik leaves for two minutes in plenty of water. Drain and cool. Holding a leaf flat in your hand, place a teaspoon of bulgur filling in the middle. Turn the sides in and over the filling, then roll it up like a cigar, though not too tight, to be approximately thumb size.
As you complete each dolma, place it flat on the base of a clay pot.
Melt remaining butter in a frypan and sauté onions. Season with salt. Place onion mixture on top of the dolmas in the pot. Cover with spring water and cook in wood-fire oven.
Musa Dağdeviren is the proprietor of Ã‡iya restaurants in Istanbul.