I’ve had great success in the garden this season with a bounty of beautiful, round firm cabbages that I nurtured from seed. Normally they’d be ravaged by various insects, but I planted them earlier this year to get ahead of the aphids and caterpillars, which don’t arrive until the warmer weather.
I find it a wonder that such a beautiful thing can grow from a tiny seed.
I’ve been eating sautéed cabbage, coleslaw and experimenting with making sauerkraut. Now I have turned to cabbage rolls.
Normally cabbage rolls would be a winter dish for me, made using bought cabbages. But with an abundance of home grown late spring cabbages, a spate of strange cold weather and a potluck birthday dinner to cater for, they seemed just destined to be made.
They are stuffed with small french lentils and rice cooked with lots of onions, porcini mushrooms and stock and then baked in a tomato sauce. I like the small french green puy type lentils because they retain their shape when cooked and the filling ends up with good texture rather than just mush.
The rolls were good on the day they were made, and even more flavourful on the next day.
I love cooking from the garden and this dish used both the cabbages and some tomatoes I bottled from last season.
Simple food, but good.
- 2 tbs olive oil
- 3 medium onions
- 1 cup long grain brown rice
- 1 cup small french puy style green lentils
- 1 tsp dried porcini mushroom pieces
- 2 cups of stock
- ¼ cup chopped parsley
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- 12 cabbage leaves
- salt to taste
- 1 tbs olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 2 400g cans tomatoes
- salt and sugar to taste
- Heat the oil in a large deep pan
- Fry the sliced onions in oil until they soften and begin to brown
- Add the raw rice and lentils to the pan, crumble the porcini mushrooms, stir and add enough stock to cover by 1 cm.
- Bring to the boil, turn the heat down to the lowest setting, cover and cook until the rice and lentils are just tender and the liquid is absorbed. You may need to add more stock or water. Don't overcook, they will cook a bit more in the tomato sauce later.
- Stir through the lemon zest and parsley.
- Heat the oil in a pan and briefly fry the garlic
- Add the tomatoes, crush and cook until reduced slightly.
- Season with salt to taste, and if needed add a small amount of sugar if the tomatoes are a bit too acidic.
- Take the leaves and submerge them in boiling water until they are limp.
- Remove them and drain.
- Remove the hard stems.
- Lay the leaves flat and add filling to the leaf closer to the stem end.
- Roll the leaf tightly, folding in the sides as you go and folding over again.
- Place the rolls seam side down into a baking dish.
- Don't worry if the are a bit messy or the filling is spilling out.
- When they are packed together and baked they will stay intact.
- Pour the tomato sauce over the rolls, cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes at 180 dec C.
- Check them once or twice during cooking and if they look dry pour in a little stock to keep moist.