Friday, April 4, 2008

The Cabbage Rolls of Bliss

Yesterday afternoon, I randomly started thinking about the cabbage rolls my mother used to make very, very occasionally--perhaps because they involved multiple steps, and multi-step recipes weren't generally the Done Thing in our house. They involved ground beef, cabbage, rice, and tomato sauce, and they were much better than the sum of their parts. Then I thought about the vegetarian ones Veselka makes...but then a bag of potatoes started grabbing my attention, and I decided a baked potato would hit the spot and be much less work.

But then, alas, I wasn't pleased with the vegetable accompaniments available at the store, except for the cabbage, which winked at me, and I thought, "What the hell." Good thought.

I think I managed to come pretty close to Velselka's version, though mine would have been even closer if I'd had regular stock cubes on hand. What I had were tomato-herb cubes (Kallo brand--in general, their stock cubes are my favorites, but I have never seen them for sale in the US; for an all-purpose vegetable stock cube bought here, my favorite is the Rapunzel brand), which accounts for the reddish color.

First, I cooked a cup of brown rice with the stock from one cube. After that was done, I sauteed a bunch of "baby portabello" mushrooms, a shallot, and a couple of cloves of garlic, and added that to the rice with some extra salt and some fresh dill. While that was going on, I had a large pot on the boil to soften the cabbage leaves. I stuffed 'em, smothered them with a simple thinnish gravy (butter, flour, stock), and baked them for a little over half an hour, spooning the gravy over the tops occasionally.

We et them with baked tofu in front of Firefly. Divine. And I still have a good deal of cabbage left for something else. Braising, maybe? If it were a bit warmer, I'd consider making my first slaw of the season, but we'll see.

1 comment:

Lauren said...

Mmm, those look good! I never think of making cabbage rolls myself, but my grandma always used to make delicious ones, with a tasty, sweet tomato sauce. (Mmm, Jewish Grandma cooking...) Come to think of it, Dan's mom makes really good ones, as well - I'll have to get the recipe from her.

Re: leftover cabbage, I recently made a tasty cabbage dish from this south Indian cookbook I've been experimenting with. Basically half-panfried, half-braised with some yummy whole spices and bits of daal, with coconut sprinkled on at the end. It would probably be a bit bland on its own, but was great along with another saucier curry (eggplant in my case).