Saturday, March 03, 2012

Cabbage Rolls


Growing up we feasted as children on “Pigs in the Blanket”
an intriguing way to inspire young ones to eat cabbage no doubt. As we grew and became inspired as fledgling cooks we discovered the Danish stuffed and rolled Cabbage. When I married I discovered the Middle Eastern influence and the many versions of our childhood favorite. Below I offer the Danish American version I have adapted for stuffed and rolled cabbage and also a Persia inspired version of the same. Both are packed with flavor and subtle differences I hope you will enjoy.


1 lb ea ground beef & pork ------------ 2 lb ground beef or lamb
1 med. Onion diced -------------------- 1 med. Onion diced
1 28-oz. can diced tomatoes ----------- 1 28-oz can diced tomatoes
1 8oz can tomato sauce ---------------- 2 TBS tomato paste
1 cup water ------------------------------ 1 cup water
1 tsp paprika ---------------------------- 4 tsp Sabzi Dolmeh
¾ tsp basil ------------------------------- (contains leek, parsley, tarragon,
½ Tsp Mint ------------------------------- cilantro, basil, mint)
½ C Minced Parsley ------------------- 3 tsp ground tarragon
¼ tsp allspice --------------------------- 1 sml can tomato sauce
1 tsp salt & ¼ tsp pepper -------------- Salt & Pepper to taste
1 cup uncooked rice -------------------- 1 cup par-cooked rice
1 head green cabbage ------------------ 1 head green cabbage
1 Lemon --------------------------------- 1 Lemon
Sour Cream ----------------------------- Sour Cream

Preparing the cabbage roll filling.As you can see the majority of ingredients are the same withsubtle differences, but here the technique differs; the Danish American version
calls for cooking the meat mixture raw in the cabbage while the Persianinfluenced is pre cooked and finished in the oven. The Danish American version
can be finished on the stove top (steam cooking) or in the oven (dry heat
cooking). Since the Persian inspired is
pre cooked I have only completed it in the oven. Both steam and dry heat produce a good
tasting cabbage.

Softening the cabbage leavesDANISH AMERICAN:
In a large bowl, combine all ingredients except cabbage, tomato sauce, water
and lemon, mix well. Core Cabbage and place in large pot of boiling water.
Remove leaves as they wilt and become pliable and allow to drain. Place a generous amount of mixture on each leaf (leaf size determines amount of filling) fold stem end over and fold in sides, roll up and use tooth pick to secure if needed. Place seem (tooth pick) side down in a coverable roasting pan.

Continue until all mixture is used.
Filling the softened cabbage leavesDepending on size of pan used you can place a second layer of rolls if needed.
Squeeze the lemon on top of the rolls, combine the tomatosauce and water and pour over the rolls, cover with aluminum foil and bake in a
350 oven for 1 1/5 hrs or until rice is cooked.

Remove from oven, place rolls on serving platter, thicken remaining
sauce with corn starch and serve table side if desired. Garnish with lemon slices and dollops of sour cream.

Stuffed cabbage rolls being loaded into roasting pan** This dish can be made on the stove top, use a heavy bottom pot, line the bottom with discarded pieces of cabbage. Place rolls seam side down in layers and add the lemon and tomato/water mixture. Cover tightly and simmer over a low flame until rice is tender. Test for doneness
by carefully unrolling a top roll and test the rice.

PERSIAN INSPIRED: Place Sabzi Dolmeh in cheese cloth/a fine mesh sieve or large tea strainer and add warm water to cover. Let stand about 15 minutes, cook the rice to
al dente and sit aside. Sautee onion and meat until cooked and onion is transparent.
Cabbage rolls ready for the ovenDrain and add Sabzi Dolmeh spice to mixture and stir and cook for 5 minutes. Drain the diced tomatoes reserving the liquid and add tomatoes to the meat mixture with the tomato paste and par cooked rice and cook an additional l2-3 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste and remove from heat.
Add cored cabbage to boiling water and remove outer leaves as they become loose, sitting aside to drain. Place a generous amount of meat mixture (depending on leaf size) and
fold stem over and fold in sides and roll.
Place seam side down in a coverable roasting pan; cCompleted cabbage rolls served with sour cream and a slice of lemonontinue until all mixture is used. Combine the reserved liquid from the tomatoes with the can of tomato sauce and pour over the rolls.
Add the water to cover the bottom of the roasting pan, cover with aluminum foil and place in 350 over for 45 minutes. Remove rolls and serve with
lemon slices and sour cream.
You can order the above spices at Penzey's Spices.

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