Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Baked Cabbage Rolls

This is the second recipe from the Daring Cook's archives that I had tried. It looked easy enough to make but took a long time to prep. There are a lot of steps though each one of them is fairly simple. I had made a timeline for myself so I would have lunch on the table on time. One by one I saw my timed deadlines slipping away. Finally at noon I sent my husband and daughter to practice her parallel parking skills. She will need it if she is going to get her license next month. And I figured I would get everything done faster if I did not have them watching me and the time.

I bought the ingredients for this recipe about 4 days back. Every day after that we seemed to go out in the morning. Since this recipe requires a lot of prep time I had to make something else for lunch instead. Today when I woke up I decided I would make the cabbage rolls.

I had never used parsnips in my cooking before. I am not very fond of its taste. But this recipe called for it so I decided to use it. I made variations to suit my family's taste. I replaced rice with cracked wheat as my husband is trying to avoid rice.


You will need
1 large cabbage
1/2 cup cracked wheat, soaked for an hour
1 cup black lentils
1/2 onion, diced
1 carrot, grated
1 parsnip, grated
1/2 green bell pepper, diced
a bunch cilantro, chopped
1 serrano pepper, deseeded and minced
6 tomatoes, Roma, pureed
2 tomato, diced
1 tsp. ginger-garlic paste
1 tsp. coriander-cumin powder
1 tsp. Madhava agave nectar
1 tsp. siracha hot sauce
olive oil

Drain the cracked wheat and transfer to a pan with 2 cups water. Cook for 15-20 minutes or until the wheat is soft but not fully cooked. Take it off the heat, drain and keep aside. In a pan heat 3 cups of water. Wash, clean the black lentils and add them to the heated water. Boil on medium heat for 15-20 minutes. Take it off the heat, drain and keep aside.

Add 1 tbsp. of olive oil to a pan and cook the onions and carrots for about 5 minutes or until soft. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and in the same pan heat another tbsp. of olive oil. Add the bell peppers and parsnip. Cook for 5 minutes or until soft. Turn off the heat and transfer to the same large bowl. Add the partially cooked cracked wheat and black lentils to the bowl along with the chopped coriander, serrano pepper and salt to taste.


Mix well. This is the filling. Keep aside until needed.


To a large deep pan add enough to soak the large cabbage. Bring the water to a boil and lower the heat. Immerse the cabbage whole into the water and let it cook for about 5 minutes. The cabbage will float in the water stalk side up. Using a sharp knife cut all around the stalk to release the leaves. Using a fork loosen up the leaves on the outer layers and carefully peel them off. Stack the leaves on a dry plate. Keep working your way to the center of the cabbage. When all the leaves are taken off turn off the heat.



Chop the Roma tomatoes into rough big pieces and puree in a blender. Dice the other tomatoes. Heat 2 tbsp. olive oil in a pan and add the ginger-garlic paste. Season with salt, agave nectar and hot sauce. Let it cook for a minute and then add all the tomatoes. Let it heat through then add a cup of water. Let it come to a boil and cook until the tomatoes are cooked through. turn off heat.


Preheat oven to 375F. On a flat working surface place a leaf of cabbage. Trim any tough stalk. Depending upon the size of the leaf, add one or more heaped tbsp. of filling near the stalk. Fold the sides over and roll from stalk side to the other end to form a roll. Place it in a casserole dish. Work your way through all the cabbage leaves.


Pour the tomato sauce over the prepared cabbage rolls and cook in a 375F oven for 1.5 hours covered with foil. After about an hour the kitchen should smell wonderful.


After 1.5 hours, remove the casserole from the oven and let it sit on the countertop for about 10 minutes. Remove the foil and serve hot with a dollop of sour cream.

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