Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Fasting Cabbage Rolls

This was an interesting recipe to try, one that's left me thinking it's high time for a cabbage roll makeover. (I'm thinking 'Cabbage Rolls Go to Bollywood,' but that'll have to wait for another day.) It's also left me thinking that if I think a new recipe might take 2 hours to make, then I'd better add an extra hour to that just in case. (But I'm crazy slow - it shouldn't take you fasties too long!)

All in all I enjoyed this recipe - itself yet another mishmash of recipes - but I didn't have anywhere near enough time to get the cabbage as tender as I would have liked it to be. (Although the leftover rolls I threw in the oven for an extra
hour were closer to achieving the tenderness I was aiming for.) I'm posting what I did this evening, but if you try this I would suggest that instead of baking the
rolls in the oven that you pop them in a large crock-pot instead. (I don't think a couple of layers would be a problem - perhaps a little extra sauce would be called for in such a situation though.) I'm thinking to try 4 hours on high and see how that goes - if/when I try crock-pot cabbage rolls I'll be sure to post what I do!

After all's said and done you will likely have some leftover cabbage and/or filling, and definitely a lot of leftover cabbage water, so plan accordingly! (Vegetable soup's on the menu here later this week, so the water's going to be a nice stock/starter for that!)

Cabbage Rolls

1 large cabbage
1 cup of dry lentils
1 cup of dry rice
1 small or medium onion (minced)
4 cloves of garlic (minced or crushed)
2 teaspoons of lemon juice
1 teaspoon of paprika
1/2 teaspoon of salt (or to taste)
1/4 teaspoon of all spice
Basil (to taste)
Parsley (to taste)
Pepper (to taste)
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 medium or large onion
4 to 8 garlic cloves (minced or crushed)
28-ounce can of crushed tomatoes
16-ounce can of diced tomatoes
1/4 cup of black raisins
1 tablespoon of sugar (or to taste)
1 teaspoon of salt (or to taste)
Basil (to taste)
Parsley (to taste)
Pepper (to taste)

1) Lord, bless!
2) Get the rice and lentils cooking, boil water in a large pot, and start sauteeing the larger onion in olive oil.
3) Remove as much of the cabbage core as possible (cutting diagonally) and place the cabbage stem-up in the boiling water. As the outer leaves begin to loosen detach them completely - using a knife to cut the ribs attaching them to the core if necessary - and put them aside. (The leaves need to have been for a bit of time or else they won't be flexible enough to fold later.)
4) Once the onion has softened add the crushed garlic cloves (excluding the ones for the filling), sautee another minute or two and then add the remaining sauce ingredients. Once the sauce has started to bubble reduce the heat to low and allow it to simmer for a while.
5) While the sauce is simmering and the cabbage is gradually being peeled mix the ingredients for the filling, adding the lentils and rice as they finish cooking.
6) After you've salvaged all the leaves you can shred 1/2 cup or a cup of the remaining cabbage core and add it to the sauce. (Be sure to give it enough time to soften if it didn't have the chance to when it was being boiled!)
7) Once the sauce has simmered sufficiently ladle enough of it to cover the bottom of whatever cooking dish or tray you're using for the cabbage rolls - be sure the walls are high enough to keep the rolls and the sauce in!
8) Take a cabbage leaf, cut the heavier part of the rib at its base out (I used a small pair of scissors), and scoop a 1/3 of a cup (or more if it's a large leaf) of the filling into the middle of the leaf. Fold the base (where you removed the rib) over the center followed by the sides, and lastly the top to make a nice, tight cabbage roll. (Well, a cabbage rectangle really.) Place in the cooking pan and repeat until you've used up your filling or your pliable cabbage leaves. (I didn't find the inner core leaves to be terribly useful.)
9) Heat your oven to 350-degrees Fahrenheit and place the tray or dish of cabbage rolls on a center rack for an hour. After an hour reduce the heat to 200-degrees and cook for another hour.
10) Pull out the wódka (and the parmesan too if you're not fasting!) and enjoy!

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