Lazy Cabbage Rolls

Lazy Cabbage Rolls

Lazy Cabbage Rolls

I have a fondness for cabbage rolls even though they are a total pill to make. They aren’t really an American food which is sort of why you never see them. Still my Russian friends love them dearly and I get recipes for them from time to time. My usual problem with cabbage rolls, other than the aforementioned prep time is that you always end up with a ton of cabbage leftover and the leaves of the middle of the cabbage are too tough to really make into rolls. A minor problem also is that, if not made correctly, they can be a total brick to eat. Other than that they rock. They are healthy, cheap, filling and you get a TON. This past weekend was the first for cabbages at the market (mine are starting to head up at home as well, yea!) and they were two dollars for a massive cabbage. Also my favorite vendor had ground lamb for sale at last and I really prefer ground lamb to ground beef in a lot of recipes. (think karnyarik or musaka, both lamb and eggplant delights) I had to get both. Then I was faced with the challenge of what to make. I remembered again my Russian friends and their many recipes for “lazy” cabbage rolls and decided that was far and away the way to go. Instead of steaming off each individual leaf of the cabbage I used my mandolin to shred the cabbage head coarsely. Then I layered cabbage, filling, more cabbage and  tomatoes. Excellent and so much faster to make. Also, because the cabbage was mixed in my children were forced to eat it vs their usual method of peeling off the cabbage and only eating filling. Damn I’m sneaky. Originally I thought I added too much liquid with the chicken broth. However, the extra means that the dish stays moist even after you’ve reheated it several times (and, given that you get a massive pot full, plan to re-heat it several times). It melds together entirely by the end, but still tastes awesome. Three cheers for cabbage confetti.

Note: If you prefer regular cabbage rolls (they are much more beautiful I’ll be the first to admit, just use the standard steaming method to remove each leaf)

Ingredients

  • 1 large head green cabbage (about 3 lbs) coarsely chopped or shreded
  • 1 lb. ground lamb
  • 1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 large egg
  • 4 oz. (1 cup) crumbled feta
  • 1/2 cup rice (I used 1 c leftover cooked rice and that worked particularly well)
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, or 2 tbsp dried
  • 1 Tbs. finely chopped fresh oregano or one 1 tsp dried
  • 1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. fennel seeds, crushed
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 15-oz. cans diced tomatoes
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1/3 cup sweet wine (I use rice wine)

Directions

  1. Preheat your oven to 325
  2.  In a bowl, combine the lamb, onion, egg, feta, rice, parsley, oregano, lemon juice, cumin, fennel, 2-1/2 tsp. salt (or less if using full sodium chicken broth), and 1 tsp. pepper.
  3. Coat the bottom of an 8- to 9-quart Dutch oven with the olive oil. Cover the bottom of the pot with half (roughly) of the cabbage. Layer all of the meat mixture. Top with the remaining cabbage.
  4. Combine the tomatoes, broth, and wine in a medium bowl and pour the mixture over the rolls.
  5. Bake for 2 hrs or until the cabbage is softened.

 

Enjoy!

Lazy Cabbage Rolls

Lazy Cabbage Rolls

 

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