Thursday, January 17, 2008

Stuffed cabbage rolls

900g head of green cabbage
120g long grain brown rice
275g mince, preferably from a leg or shoulder of lamb
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp allspice
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 ¼ tsp salt or to taste
4tbsp hot water
½ tbsp extra virgin olive oil
12 garlic cloves
15g butter
1-1 ½ tsp dried mint
6tbsp lemon juice or 300ml Seville Orange juice
Cut out and discard the core of the cabbage, then gently remove the leaves one at a time. Put them in a pan with just enough boiling water to cover and leave to stand for a few minutes until limp and easily pliable. Drain.
In a bowl, combine the rice, mince, cinnamon, allspice, pepper, half the salt, and the hot water. Set aside.

Place several cabbage leaves on a clean surface, thick vein sides up. Trim the middle thick vein of each leaf, or flatten it with your thumb. Put about 1tbsp of the meat mixture on the stem end of each leaf. Roll once, fold in both sides of the leaf and continue to roll the leaf around the meat mixture. Repeat with all the leaves. Set aside.
Heat the oil in a pan over medium high heat until hot but not smoking. Add 8 of the garlic cloves and stir until golden brown, about 1 min. remove from the heat and arrange the cabbage rolls, seam side down in the pan. Place the garlic at intervals between the rolls. Pour in anough water to cover just the cabbage, season with the remaining salt and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to medium low, cover and simmer for 30-40 min.
Meanwhile, crush the remaining garlic until smooth, heat the butter in a small frying pan and lightly sautee the garlic for a few seconds. Turn off the heat and quickly stir in the mint. Add to the cabbage rolls along with the lemon juice. Cover the pan and continue to simmer for another 30 min.
Serve hot with plain yogurt and Lebanese bread.

These cabbage rolls from New Flavours of the Lebanese Table were really good. I had some left over Lamb mince, and I like to use it up right away, so I looked around and found this. There are many different ways to do cabbage rolls, I was always most familiar with the Italian, and the Eastern European ways to make them, so this was a bit new and different. I’d say the biggest change was the lamb and mint combo. It was really good.

They take a long time to make, I won’t kid you about that. They are very small, and you have to make a lot of them. Still, it’s not hard work, so if you are looking for a soothing meditative time cooking, trying this one out would be good.

The flavor combinations are really nice. My biggest tip to you is don’t skip the yogurt. It makes a huge difference between these being ok, and these being really good. Try to use the thickest yogurt that you can get hold of, we use the Greek style (so good).

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