As a child, I would never have gone anywhere near cabbage rolls let alone cabbage. It fell into the “icky” and “yucky” group of adjectives usually spoken by kids. Perhaps it was the sulphurous aroma that made me detest it. I can't remember. All I know, is that one day, I had a “light bulb” moment. All of a sudden the shredded cabbage salad dressed with a light vinaigrette wasn't that bad. Mum’s cabbage/rice combo known as “lahanorizo” shined with new deliciousness. And cabbage rolls were no longer seen as “evil”. LOL!
Cabbage rolls known as “lahanodolmades” in Greek, are very similar to dolmades which are made with vine leaves. I like to think of them as a dressed up version of giouvarlakia. I use mint, dill and continenetal parsley for flavouring and finish off the sauce by making an avgolemono. My Serbian friends’ mother does a version of cabbage rolls in a red sauce and serves it up with sour cream. Delicious! And there are probably a hundred more variations of this dish floating around the world. My version of lahanodolmades includes quinoa. Why? Because I ran out of my regular long grain rice and thought it would make a good substitute. It's fine but I definitely prefer the bulked up version made with rice. Also, be wary of overlooking the whole cabbage in the first step. It will turn out soggy and make rolling up the cabbage rolls tricky. Serve these as part of a Greek meze selection or serve them up as a full meal with bread and a side slab of feta cheese.
|Cabbage Rolls Recipe-Lahanodolmades|
- 1 medium sized head of cabbage, inner core and outer leaves removed
- 400 grams minced beef
- 1/4 cup of uncooked quinoa
- 1 tbs chopped mint
- 2 tbs chopped continental parsley
- 2 tbs chopped dill
- 1 egg
- Salt and pepper, to season
- a "splash" of olive oil
- 2 cups chicken stock plus enough water to cover the cabbage rolls
- 1 egg
- Juice of half a lemon
- A few ladles of the cooking liquid
- Blanch the head of cabbage in a pot of boiling water for 10-15 mins. Once blanched remove the cabbage and separate the leaves. Once cooled, use a sharp knife to remove the thick inner vein on the leaf.
- In a separate bowl combine the beef mince, dill, parsley, mint, quinoa, a little olive oil and the salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly and set aside.
- Using our pre blanched cabbage leaves, drop a tablespoon of the beef mixture onto the bottom part of the cabbage leaf. Bring the two sides of the leaf to meet in the middle and roll them up ensuring they are not too tight. Continue with the remainder of the leaves and beef until you have your lahanodolmades made.
- In a large pot, drizzle a little olive oil on the bottom. Layer and stack your lahanodolmades in a neat manner until they are snugly fitting in the pot. Add the chicken stock and enough water to cover them. You don't want them to be completely submerged and swimming in the liquid. Cook them on a medium heat for approx 45-50 minutes or until the cabbage is tender. To keep them from opening during the cooking process, you can place a plate on top of them to provide a little pressure and hold them down.
- Once they are cooked we can finish them off with some avgolemono. Beat your egg and lemon juice together and temper this mixture by adding a few ladles of the cooking liquid from the cabbage rolls. Beat thoroughly and add to the pot. Shake the pot a few times, season with salt and pepper and let them rest for about 5 minutes before serving them and garnishing with cropped dill and parsley.