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Recipe

Sweet Potato-Chickpea Dolmas with Spinach and Crispy Mushrooms

Gentl & Hyers

Yield: Yields 1/2 cup tahini sauce

Servings: 4

“Dolma” comes from the Arabic word for “something stuffed.” Grape leaves filled with ground lamb, rice, onions, and currants are among the most popular dolmas, but there are a variety of vessels for stuffing that include fruit, vegetables, and, in this recipe, sweet potatoes. Savory, well-seasoned fillings are added, and the dolmas are braised or baked, then served hot, cold, or at room temperature.

Ingredients

For the tahini sauce

  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the dolmas

  • 4 small sweet potatoes (about 2 lbs.)
  • 2 Tbs. pine nuts or slivered almonds
  • 1/2 lb. king oyster or porcini mushrooms
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil, divided
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt; more as needed
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper; more as needed
  • 1-1/2 to 2 Tbs. freshly squeezed lemon juice, divided
  • 3/4 cup cooked chickpeas or one 15-oz. can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 2 Tbs. tahini
  • 1 small clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 small shallots, thinly sliced
  • 1 lb. fresh spinach, rinsed and large stems removed
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon, preferably Vietnamese
  • 1/8 tsp. ground allspice
  • 1/4 cup chopped dried apples or currants

Preparation

For the tahini sauce

  • Combine all of the ingredients, except the salt and black pepper, in a blender or small food processor and blend until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Make the dolmas

  • Heat the oven to 350°F. Wrap the sweet potatoes in a double layer of aluminum foil and bake until tender, 45 to 60 minutes. Unwrap the potatoes and allow them to cool while you toast the nuts in the center of the oven until golden, 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Wipe the mushrooms with a damp paper towel, then trim and toss with 1 Tbs. olive oil, the salt, and black pepper and roast for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the mushrooms are golden brown with crispy edges. Cool to room temperature and toss them with 1-1⁄2 to 2 tsp. lemon juice.
  • Put a sweet potato into each of four large ramekins. Cut a slice horizontally from the top and gently spread out the sides of the sweet potatoes to fit the ramekins. Scoop out 3 to 4 Tbs. of flesh from each potato to create a space, and season the inside of each potato with a little salt. Set aside.
  • Transfer the scooped-out sweet potato to the bowl of a food processor and add the chickpeas, tahini, 1 to 1-1⁄2 tsp. lemon juice, and the garlic. Purée the mixture until it is the consistency of thick hummus and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • In a large frying pan, heat 1 Tbs. olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the shallots and sauté until translucent, then stir in the spinach, cumin, cinnamon, and allspice. Cook until the spinach is wilted and tender. Add the dried apples or currants, toasted nuts, 1 to 1-1⁄2 tsp. lemon juice, and salt to taste.
  • Divide the sweet potato-chick pea purée among the four sweet potatoes and put an equal amount of the spinach mixture on top of each. Cover loosely with aluminum foil and bake for 15 minutes, or until the potatoes are hot all the way through. Reheat the mushrooms, spoon over the spinach, and drizzle each with tahini sauce, if desired.

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