Even though it’s in the 90’s here, the 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?