Friday, March 30, 2012

Arabic-Style Cabbage Rolls

Even if you are not a fan of cabbage, you will like cabbage rolls. With a flavorful filling and cooked in a tomato broth until soft, there is nothing truly cabbage-y about these.

This recipe isn't super easy but it also looks a lot more complicated than it is because of the number of ingredients

For three-four people:

1 head of cabbage
300 grams ground lamb or beef
1 onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic
1 egg
200 ml vegetable broth
2 EL (Tbs) oil 
2 EL (Tbs) parsley
1 EL (Tbs) mint
1 EL (Tbs) Coriander
500 g tomatoes (we used diced tomatoes from a can)
1 TL (tsp) cumin
1 TL (tsp) sweet paprika
1/2 TL (tsp) chili flakes
salt and pepper

Begin by putting a large pot of salt water on the stove to boil. Then cut the bottom of the cabbage head to make peeling off the layers easier.

Then pull back the layers one by one trying to keep the individual pieces as large as possible. Yes, we know what you are thinking, "That doesn't sound too hard," but it is! At least we had a hard time getting large pieces off. We pulled off a good number (15 or more) because we couldn't decide if they were large enough to use or not. Since you probably aren't dying for leftover cabbage, feel free to take off a lot :)

Rinse off the cabbage pieces and place them in the boiling water. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water.

While the pieces are boiling you can make the meat mixture. Combine all of the spices, the raw meat, the egg, 1/2 the onion, 1/2 the garlic, and 2 EL (Tbs) of the tomatoes. Basically, this means everything goes in except for the all of the tomatoes, 1/2 the garlic and onion, broth, oil, and the cabbage.

 Mix all the ingredients together well. Then spread out one cabbage leaf and add a spoonful or two of the meat mixture (depending on the size of your cabbage piece). Roll like a burrito, making sure to tuck in the ends.
We had a hard time with this (especially since our pieces were quite small) so we gave in and used toothpicks to hold the rolls together. Not as beautiful but they got the job done!

Continue until you have used up all of the meat or all of the cabbage...not that we are sure what choice there is other than stopping.

On the stove, heat the oil, remaining tomatoes, onion and garlic, and the broth in a large pot (you want to be able to place as many cabbage rolls flat as you can). If you have extra meat (like we did) you can also add that to the liquid mixture and cook it along with the rolls.

Place all of the rolls into the pot and in the broth as much as possible. If a few must overlap that is okay. Cover and cook for about 40 minutes.

Remove and serve with bread, rice, or anything else that sounds good to you. He ate his with Knödel (a German dumpling) and she had hers with toast.

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