Welcome to my recipe for Sogan Dolma, a delicious Turkish dish that will take your taste buds on a flavorful journey. These stuffed onions, also known as soğan dolması in Turkish, are a guest favorite and a beloved dish in Turkish cuisine.
The name “dolma” comes from the verb “doldurmak,” which means “to fill.” In this dish, we fill onion shells with a mixture of ground beef, rice, herbs, and spices. The combination of savory meat, tender onions, and aromatic herbs makes for an irresistible flavor.
As an Israeli chef, I have been cooking this traditional Turkish dish for years and have made it my own by adding my own twist to the recipe. By using rolled oats as a binder instead of breadcrumbs or eggs and by using fresh ground black pepper and herb seasoning mix for an extra kick of flavor, I have elevated the classic recipe to new heights.
This recipe is perfect for any occasion, from family dinners to special occasions. It is easy to prepare and can be made vegan or vegetarian by simply replacing the ground beef with mushrooms or tofu. Trust me; your family and friends will be begging you for seconds!
So gather your food ingredients and let’s begin the journey towards creating the perfect stuffed onions recipe!
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
Are you tired of eating the same old dishes every week? Are you looking to spice up your dining experience with a dish that is both unique and delicious? Then let me introduce you to Sogan Dolma, also known as Stuffed Onions! Trust me, once you try this dish, it will become a new favourite!
First and foremost, this recipe is incredibly flavourful. The combination of savoury ground beef and aromatic herbs come together to create a delectable filling that will tantalize your taste buds. And don’t forget the addition of fresh ground black pepper and red paprika, which add just the right amount of spice.
But what truly sets this dish apart is the use of onion shells as the vessel for the stuffing. The onions are scooped out and filled with a mixture of ground meat, rice, rolled oats, herbs, and spices. Once cooked in a pot with some more onions and tomato paste, these stuffed onions become tender and juicy, releasing their sweet and smoky flavour into the filling.
Not only is this dish flavoursome, but it is also versatile. For those who prefer vegetarian or vegan options, simply swap out the beef for a plant-based protein source such as lentils or chickpeas. Regardless of dietary preferences, everyone can enjoy the unique delight that Sogan Dolma offers.
Lastly, this recipe is easy to adapt to suit your preferences. You can add more or less seasoning depending on your taste buds. You can also use different types of rice or grains for added texture. The sky’s the limit when it comes to customization!
In short, Sogan Dolma (Stuffed Onions) offers a new twist on traditional dishes while still maintaining a comforting home-cooked feel. So go ahead and give it a try – I promise it will be worth it!
Let’s talk about the star players of this dish – the ingredients. It’s important to use fresh and quality ingredients for the best results. Here is what you need:
For the onions:
- 10-12 large onions
- 2 tablespoons of white vinegar
- Cold water
For the filling:
- 1 pound of ground beef
- 1 cup of white rice
- ½ cup of rolled oats (or breadcrumbs)
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 celery stalks, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon of tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- ½ teaspoon of fresh ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon of herb seasoning mix
- 1 teaspoon of red paprika
Note: You can also use ground lamb or a vegetarian meat substitute for a different variation.
- Finely chopped parsley or dill for garnish
Make sure you have all these food ingredients ready before starting your preparation yap, as it will make the process much easier and smoother.
The Recipe How-To
Get your pots ready, folks! We’re about to start cooking these delicious sogan dolmas (stuffed onions)! Here’s how:
- 8 medium-sized onion shells
- 1/2 lb ground beef
- 1/2 cup white rice, rinsed and drained
- 1/4 cup of rolled oats
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tbsp red paprika
- 1 tsp herb seasoning mix
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 celery stalk, finely chopped
- 1 – 2 cups of cold water
- 1 tbsp white vinegar
Preparing the Onion Shells:
- Cut off both ends of each onion and peel them.
- Carefully scoop out the center using a sharp knife and a spoon, leaving only the outer layers intact.
- Season the insides of the onion shells with some salt.
Preparing the Meat Filling:
- In a large bowl, mix together the ground beef, rice, rolled oats, minced garlic, red paprika, herb seasoning mix, tomato paste, and celery. Add salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste (about a teaspoon each).
- Combine all ingredients well until they are fully incorporated.
- Start filling each onion shell with the meat mixture without overfilling – leave some space at the top for rice expansion during cooking.
- Once all the onions are stuffed, place them into a deep pot.
Cooking the Dolmas:
- Pour cold water into your pot until you cover half of your stuffed onions.
- Add one tablespoon of white vinegar to keep their color and enhance flavor.
- Cook on high heat until it comes to a boil.
- Reduce heat to low and cook covered for at least an hour and a half or until your rice is tender.
- Serve hot or cold – that depends on your preferences!
The aroma that these sogan dolmas produce while cooking is absolutely mouthwatering! You will want to devour them immediately after taking them out of the pot! Trust me, once you’ve had these dolma stuffed onions, you’ll be coming back for more every time you prepare them!
Substitutions and Variations
Although traditional sogan dolma calls for a filling of ground beef, rice, and rolled oats, there are plenty of substitutions and variations that can give it a different flavor and texture. Here are a few suggestions to make this dish your own:
– Vegetarian: If you prefer vegetarian options or have dietary restrictions, you can substitute the ground beef with lentils or mushrooms. Soak 1 cup of dry lentils in water overnight, then cook them in water with salt and pepper until tender. Drain any excess water and use the lentils as a replacement for meat. Alternatively, sauté 2 cups of chopped mushrooms with garlic and onions until browned and add them to the rice mixture.
– Vegan: To make it vegan-friendly, skip the meat entirely and add more rice and vegetables to the mix. You can also use vegetable broth instead of beef broth for added depth.
– Spicy: If you’re looking for some heat, add a pinch or two of red pepper flakes to the meat mixture before filling the onions. Another spicy option is to replace the herb seasoning mix with cumin powder, coriander powder and minced jalapeno.
– Fruity: Wanting a tangy sweetness in your sogan dolma? Try adding about 1/4 cup of raisins or currants to the rice filling. You can also top each onion shell with a slice of tomato or sprinkle some pomegranate seeds on top post-baking.
– Cheesy: Cheese lovers can add some crumbled feta or grated parmesan into the filling or sprinkle it over the top after baking. This will give sogan dolma a creamy edge that pairs well with its savory notes.
These are just a few ideas for how you can put your own spin on sogan dolma. Experiment and make it yours!
Serving and Pairing
Now that your sogan dolma recipe is cooked to perfection and tasted amazing, how do you serve them? With its rich flavors and filling texture, sogan dolma stuffed onions dish can be served as a standout entrée or as a side dish next to grilled meats, roasted vegetables, or steamed rice.
For a more authentic Turkish cuisine experience, sogan dolma can be served with cacik, an herb-infused yogurt dip made of grated cucumber, dill and garlic that balances the dish’s bold flavors. Sogan dolma also pairs well with other traditional Turkish sides such as potato salad with green beans, red pepper flakes salad, and semolina halva with pine nuts.
If you want to keep it simple, try garnishing your sogan dolma with some freshly chopped parsley or cilantro and squeeze some lemon juice on top. This will help balance the flavors of the bold onion stuffing while bringing out all the unique spices.
To elevate the flavors further, complement your stuffed onions with a glass of fruity medium-bodied wine like Merlot, Shiraz or Pinot Noir. You can also pair it with full-bodied white wines like Chardonnay or Viognier – their buttery textures will stand up well to the boldness of the sogan dolma.
Whether you’re entertaining guests or cooking up for your family weeknight meal, these stuffed onion delights are versatile enough to impress both vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike. Its rich and savory taste has been a Bosnian food favorite for centuries – try this vegan recipe today and take part in its culinary journey.
Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating
Don’t let the fear of leftovers stop you from making these delicious Sogan Dolmas. In fact, this recipe is perfect for meal prepping or making ahead of time for busy evenings.
To make-ahead, simply prepare as directed and refrigerate for up to 2 days. When you’re ready to serve, just reheat them in the oven at 350°F (175°C) for 15-20 minutes until warmed through.
Storing leftovers is similarly easy. Store any remaining dolmas in a covered container in the fridge for up to 3 days. To reheat, place them in a baking dish with a splash of water and cover tightly with foil before baking at 350°F (175°C) for 20-25 minutes until hot and bubbly.
If you have more dolmas than you can eat or if you’d like to freeze them for later use, they freeze beautifully. Simply store them in an airtight container or freezer bag and freeze for up to 3 months. To reheat from frozen, bake them straight from the freezer at 350°F (175°C) for 30-35 minutes or until warmed through.
These stuffed onions are so versatile that they can be enjoyed warm or cold, as a standalone dish or paired with salad and a side of crusty bread. The reheating process will not affect their taste and texture too much, but it’s best to eat them as freshly prepared as possible.
Tips for Perfect Results
When it comes to cooking sogan dolma, the key to achieving excellent taste and texture is in the details. As an experienced Israeli chef, I’ve learned a few tips and tricks along the way that guarantee perfect results every time. Here are some tips to help you make the most delicious sogan dolma stuffed onions:
Tip #1: Choose the Right Onion
The type of onion you choose can greatly affect the outcome of your sogan dolma. Look for large onions with tight, thick skin that will hold their shape when baked. Sweet onions are also a great option because of their mild flavor.
Tip #2: Parboil the Onion Shells
To make sure your onion shells are tender enough to stuff, it’s important to parboil them beforehand. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add the onion shells, and cook for 5-7 minutes until slightly tender. Drain and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process.
Tip #3: Prepare Your Meat Mixture Carefully
For best results, combine all of your meat mixture ingredients (ground beef, rice, oats, celery, etc.) thoroughly yet gently without overworking the mixture. This will ensure that it maintains its moisture and allows for even cooking.
Tip #4: Season Heavily and Properly
To give your sogan dolma dynamic flavor, don’t be shy with your herbs and spices. I recommend using fresh ground black pepper and herb seasoning mix as well as red paprika for a little heat. Don’t forget to add salt to taste and a splash of white vinegar to brighten up the flavors.
Tip #5: Bake at a High Temperature
Set your oven temperature to 375°F (190°C) and bake for approximately 75-90 minutes or until the onions are tender and the filling is fully cooked through. This will result in perfectly cooked sogan dolma with tender onion shells and juicy meat filling.
By following these simple tips, you can ensure that your sogan dolma turns out perfectly every time. Whether you’re catering to a vegan or vegetarian appetite or just looking for a new recipe from Turkish cuisine, this dish is sure to be a crowd-pleaser!
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In conclusion, Sogan Dolma is a dish that carries the essence of Turkish cuisine with all its rich flavors and aromas. It is an extremely versatile recipe that can be modified to suit different dietary needs and preferences. With my detailed instructions, useful tips and variations, you can easily prepare this lip-smacking dish in the comfort of your own kitchen.
Whether you are new to cooking or a seasoned chef, Sogan Dolma will not only satisfy your taste buds but also impress your guests. The unique blend of savory beef, rice and spices stuffed inside tender onion shells is sure to elevate any dinner party or special occasion.
So why not give this classic Turkish dish a try? With a little bit of patience and practice, you can wow your guests with your culinary skills and create memories that last a lifetime. Trust me, once you taste these flavorful dolmas, they will become one of your favorite comfort foods too!
Sogan Dolma (Stuffed Onions) Recipe
- 1 large white onion, halved crosswise, ends discarded, plus 1/2 onion coarsely chopped
- 5 tablespoons white vinegar
- 4 baby carrots
- 1 stalk celery, coarsely chopped
- 2 lbs ground beef
- 1 cup rolled oats or 1 cup breadcrumbs
- 1 cup white rice
- 1 cup tomato sauce with garlic
- 1 cup cold water
- 1 tablespoon red paprika
- 1 tablespoon vegetable herb seasoning mix, such as Vegeta
- 1/2 tablespoon chicken base
- 1/2 tablespoon fresh garlic in oil
- 1/2 tablespoon fresh ground black pepper
- Serving suggestions: cold sour cream, cucumber salad.
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
- Boil the halved onions in water with 3 tablespoons of the vinegar until soft but not falling apart, about 15 minutes.
- Put the chopped onions, carrots and celery in a food processor and blend until finely chopped. Combine the vegetable mixture, ground beef, oats, rice, tomato sauce, cold water, paprika, vegetable herb seasoning, chicken base, garlic and pepper in a bowl and mix well with your hands.
- Remove the halved onions from the water and separate into cups. Fill each cup with meat mixture and place meat-side up in a single layer in a 12- by 15-inch baking pan. Mix the remaining 2 tablespoons vinegar with enough hot water to pour into the pan to cover halfway up the sides. Cover and bake for 2 hours.
- To serve, transfer the stuffed onions to plates and cover with sauce. Serve with a cold sour cream and cucumber salad.