Sephardi Stuffed Cabbage Rolls? I can just see many of my readers wondering what they could be, for it is almost impossible to find them on a restaurant menu. Although they are still made from Cabbage filled with a seasoned Rice mixture, these are a delightful change from the Tomato-sauced variety which are more commonly served.
Everyone loves Cabbage Rolls, but few people try to make them at home for any but the most special occasions. Why? Because most cookbooks tell you that you must blanch the Cabbage, which is a rather time-consuming process. I'm going to tell you an easier way to make the leaves pliant enough to roll. When you bring the Cabbage home from the market: remove and discard the outer leaves, core the cabbage, then put it in the freezer until solid. Take it out of the freezer, thaw, and the leaves will be soft enough for any use.
These can be eaten hot or cold, so are particularly convenient for a picnic or buffet table.
2 large heads of Cabbage
1/4 cup Olive Oil
2 Onions, diced
2 cups long-grain Rice
1/4 cup dried, minced Onion
3 Tablespoons dried Dill
1 teaspoon ground Cumin
4 teaspoons Pareve Chicken-flavored Bouillon powder
2 teaspoons Lemon Pepper
2 tablespoons Sugar
3/4 cup freshly squeezed Lemon Juice
3 1/4 cups boiling Water
1 pound frozen chopped Spinach, thawed
enough extra Olive Oil to coat the bottom of a 12-inch skillet
To soften the Cabbage
Two or three hours before you are going to prepare the Rolls, remove the outer leaves from the Cabbages and discard them. This is for the sake of safety and cleanliness.
Next, insert a paring knife next to the core of the cabbage, and cut all the way around it, so that it may also be removed and discarded.
Place the Cabbages in the freezer until they are solid. You may remove them to thaw, when the filling is cooked, about thirty minutes before you are ready to roll them.
To prepare the filling
Pour 1/4 cup of Olive Oil in the bottom of a 4-quart pan, and add the diced Onions.
Place the pan over a medium flame, then cook the onions until they are transparent.
Add all the other ingredients, except the Spinach and extra Olive Oil. Bring the mixture to a boil, cover tightly, then lower the heat, and cook for 15 minutes.
Take the pan off the flame, and remove the lid. Stir in the thawed Spinach, and allow the mixture to cool for about thirty minute, while the Cabbage thaws.
To stuff the leaves
Lay a leaf of Cabbage on a plate. Scoop about 1/3 cup of the filling into your hand, and compress it slightly.
Lay the filling on one end of the leaf, fold the sides of the leaf over it, then roll.
Put the roll on a platter and cover it with a damp towel. Repeat until you have used all the filling.
Coat the bottom of a 12-inch skillet with Olive Oil. Put the Cabbage Rolls in the skillet, and place it over a medium-low flame.
Cook the Rolls, turning them occasionally with tongs, until the Cabbage is golden and caramelized.
You may serve these immediately, or place them in the refrigerator to have the next day. If you like, they can be reheated in the microwave.
2002 Eddy Robey
Excerpts from It's Not Just Chicken Soup.
hosted by the Gantseh Megillah
to the recipe list.