Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Stuffed Cabbage Rolls


I'll be honest, cabbage rolls are definitely not the most glamorous or sexy dish out there. I don't think this would be a meal of choice for any first date or that it's the kind of dish you would want to be served at a hip restaurant. However, it's an incredibly comforting meal and with the snowy, windy winter we've had in Montreal so far, it's just about the most perfect dish to serve on a cold night. It's also a great meal to make in large quantities and have in the freezer for a quick meal at any other time. The only real tedious part of the meal is softening the cabbage leaves in simmering water, but the rest of the process is fairly straight forward. The result is a pot filled to the brim with cabbage rolls stuffed with a mix of onions, rice and meat and covered with thick tomato sauce. It's also a beautifully complete meal that needs very little around it.

I'm usually most inclined to make dishes that are not only incredibly tasty and flavorful but also aesthetically pleasing. This dish is a little bit of a let down in the aesthetics department but it definitely makes up for it in comfort. If you want to freeze an extra batch, freeze the rolls raw in ziploc bags and cook directly from the freezer by adding the rolls to a pot and covering with tomato puree as indicated in my recipe below.

Cabbage Rolls


1 large savoy cabbage
1 large onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tsp of dried oregano
2 cups of cooked long grain rice
8 ounces of ground beef
6 ounces of ground lamb
1 can of tomato puree, 28 ounces
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Using a paring knife, remove the core of the cabbage. Bring a large pot filled with water to a gentle boil. The pot must be big enough to fit the whole cabbage. Turn the cabbage several times during this process to make sure all parts of the cabbage are submerged in water. Cook for about 2 minutes or until the outer leaves are tender. Carefully remove the cabbage from the water and remove the softened outer leaves. Return the cabbage to the boiling water, and repeat the process to tenderize all the leaves. Using a peeler, peel the rigid center core of each leaf so that the leaves are easily pliable.

Add a good drizzle of olive oil to a pan on medium heat. Add the onion, garlic and oregano and cook until the onions are tender and translucent, about 6 minutes. Add the onion mixture to a large bowl. Mix in the cooked rice, beef and lamb and generously season with salt and freshly ground pepper.

Prepare a work surface to roll the leaves. Add about 1/3 cup of filling on the bottom third of a leaf. Fold the bottom edge over the filling and tightly fold up the sides. Continue rolling as tightly as possible and lay the rolls fold side down.

Add the tomato puree to a Dutch oven and add the rolls. Depending on the size of the rolls you may have to add more tomato puree. Bring to a boil and reduce to a low simmer. Cover and cook for 1 hour or until the rolls are entirely cooked through. Serve with a dollop of creme fraiche. Enjoy!

20 comments:

Poornima Nair said...

They may not be glamorous but they are really satisfying and healthy too, I love them. Beautiful picture!

Nisrine|Dinners and Dreams said...

The mixture of lamb and beef must yield an amazing stuffing. Delicious!

Laura said...

This is definitely an underrated dish! My grandmother makes amazing stuffed cabbage rolls and, though I couldn't eat them every day for dinner, they are a great comfort every now and then! Thanks for sharing your recipe!

Just me said...

we make theme too...just that we use thyme and dill,and some smoked pork meat to intensify the flavour and for stuffing we use pork and beef:)))in our country(romania) this is one of traditional meal for christmas:)yours look delicious:))try to serve theme with sourcream!

My Kitchen in the Rockies said...

My aunt makes the best cabbage rolls. Can't wait to eat them again when visiting her in Germany soon. I think they are sexy, but in disguise!

Claudie said...

Well, your picture definitely makes them look glamorous! And I love how you combine lamb and beef - great idea!

Trissa said...

Aesthetics?? You must be joking because that picture is stunning! I love the look of this dish. Am sure it tastes fantastic too!

The Italian Dish said...

One of my favorite things!

Caroline said...

I found a slow cooker recipe for stuffed cabbage rolls that I was thinking of trying, but this recipe just won me over. The filling sounds delicious, and a perfect change of pace from our normal 'weekend fare.'

Jane Ko said...

Yum, i'll be making these for the boyfriend!

warmvanillasugar said...

My mom used to make awesome cabbage rolls when I was a kid. This recipe looks so similar, so I know it's good!

A Canadian Foodie said...

Considerably different than the sweet cabbage rolls that are standard in this area, and vastly different than the sour cabbage rolls I have come to make for every holiday as they are part of my husband's ethnic culinary tradition - yet, clearly, delicious. I love all kinds of cabbage rolls and haven't met one yet that wasn't soft and pillowy and comforting.
:)
Valerie

foodie and the chef said...

Oh I think the rolls look gorgeous (and imagine they taste even better)... I haven't made these for myself before, but I've always adored eating them so will have to try out your recipe :)

pigpigscorner said...

I agree, I made this once and photographing it was quite a challenge. You did a great job!

polwig said...

Being Polish I love stuffed cabbage, even though mine is usually stuffed with pork or pork/beef mixture. I love the use of lamb in this. Great photos.

Seattle Pastry Girl said...

Stunning photo of one of my favorite comfort foods-wow something so simple and you make it look elegant

Paige at The Spice House said...

Mmm, a delicious dish however you look at it! Cabbage is a seriously underrated vegetable in North America. I think it's one of the sexiest vegetables around, with firm shiny inner leaves peeping coyly out from a delicate fringe of soft outer leaves...

Just a French Girl... said...

I wanted to ask, what kind of cabbage are you using? Is it the soft/hard type?

jami said...

They may not be glamorous, but they are delicious, and you managed to make them look beautiful! My mom makes them, and I love them. Thanks for visiting my site (and for the comment on the fondant penguins)!

Food Joints said...

Nice post I love all your recipes! I've become quite the addict lately! Thanks for a great dinner that warms up the house.

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