Recipe: Turkish Inspired Stuffed Cabbage

Accidental Locavore Stuffed CabbageEven though it’s in the 90’s here,┬áthe Accidental Locavore decided in the cool of the morning to make stuffed cabbage. It’s not hard, just a little time consuming. Par-boiling the leaves takes the most time (besides cooking them), but it’s certainly easy. Don’t let the lengthy looking directions scare you off.

  • Core the cabbage and carefully remove the leaves until they get too small and gnarly to work with.
  • Fill your biggest, flattest pan with water and put it on to boil. I added salt to the water, but don’t know how necessary it is. Force of habit.
  • Place a few of the cabbage leaves in the water. You need to cover them with water, so don’t do more than 5 at a time. Boil until just tender and pliable.
  • Repeat with the rest of the leaves. Put them on a plate, or clean dishtowel to drain and cool.

While the leaves are cooking I mixed together:

  • 1/2 pound of ground lamb (from local grass fed lambs).
  • 2 onions chopped fine
  • 1/2 cup rice (long grain)
  • 1/3 cup each dill, parsley, mint (all from my garden, saving a trip to the local supermarket), chopped fine
  • 1/2 cup of toasted pine nuts (totally optional)
  • Salt, pepper, and a dash of allspice
  • Mix all these together until well combined
  • When the leaves are done, cut the spines out of the leaves. If they’re big leaves, cut them in half the long way.
  • Spoon a heaping tablespoon of filling about an inch above the bottom of the base of the leaf.
  • Fold up the bottom to cover the filling.
  • Fold in the sides, and roll up, easy right?
  • Take all the leftover small pieces of cabbage, and the spines, and line the bottom of a large flat pan with them (I use the same pan as for the leaves).
  • Place the rolls in the pan so they’re resting on the seam (the end of the leaf).
  • Dot with butter, about 2 TBSP, and fill the pan with water to cover the rolls.
  • Place a large plate on top to hold them down.
  • Heat on medium heat until boiling, then turn down to a strong simmer for 30-35 minutes until tender.

I like a yogurt sauce with these, and now that I know how to work with yogurt, it’s really easy. The two things you must do are: use whole milk yogurt. Any low fat yogurt will separate. Trust me. The other thing is to add egg yolks to the yogurt. For about 1 cup of yogurt, I used 2 egg yolks. Beat them slightly to combine them, and stir into the yogurt until combined.

For the sauce:

  • 1 small can tomato sauce
  • 1 cup of whole milk yogurt mixed with 2 egg yolks
  • 3 cloves of garlic put through a garlic press
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a sauce pan and heat slowly until warm, and the sauce is combined. You can pour over the stuffed cabbage or even warm the cabbage in the sauce. Enjoy!

A lot of people have great recipes for stuffed cabbage. What’s yours?

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