This is a hearty dish, designed to entertain an extended family or lots of friends. It’s a speciality of the beautiful southeastern city of Mardin, which was carved out of a sandstone mountain 6000 years ago.
I first tried this dolma at Cerciş Murat Konaği, Mardin’s most famous restaurant (now with a branch in Istanbul), which also serves wine made from white cherry pits in clay jugs. Mardin’s cooking has influences from the Kurds, the Assyrians and the Armenians.
Try to use spring lamb, which has sweeter flesh than a grown-up sheep. And you’ll need good stitching skills, because tightly stitching the skin is important to keep the flavours inside the ribcage.