Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Stuffed cabbage

I've had stuffed cabbage once in my life and actually really liked it! So when I found a recipe for it, I tweaked it a little and made it healthier. This recipe is pretty simple, but requires a lot more time in preparation and cooking than most of my other 'easy' recipes. Save this one for the weekend.

So why cabbage? Besides the fact that I've never cooked with it before, the cabbage family such, as head cabbage, kale, and collard greens, contain phytonutrients known as glucosinolates that help increase the production of detoxifying enzymes in your body. More information can be found here, here, and here.

Ingredients for filling:
(makes 6 servings; 1 serving = 2 stuffed cabbages)

  • 1c cooked brown rice
  • 10 cabbage leaves
  • 1 lb. ground turkey
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 ripe Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • garlic to taste
  • 1tsp. dried oregano
  • 1tsp. cinnamon
  • a dash of cayenne pepper
  • 0.5c bread crumbs
  • 2 large eggs
  • 10 toothpicks, pre-soaked in water
Ingredients for sauce:
  • olive oil cooking spray
  • 6oz. unsalted tomato paste
  • 10 white mushrooms, diced
  • 0.5c water
  • 0.25c apple cider vinegar
  • garlic to taste
  • 1tsp. oregano
  • 1tsp. cinnamon
  • a dash of cayenne pepper
  • 0.5tbsp. dried thyme
  • salt and pepper to taste
1.) Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Turn off heat and blanch each cabbage leaf for a few seconds, until leaf is pliable and won't tear when folded.

2.) Set a large pan over medium heat and cook turkey until no longer pink. About 5 minutes. Add all except about two tbs. of the chopped onions and cook till onions are clean. Set aside the two tbs. of onions for the sauce.

3.) Add diced tomatoes, cinnamon, oregano, and cayenne and cook till fragrant. About another 3 more minutes.

4.) In a separate bowl, mixed together the bread crumbs and cooled brown rice. When thoroughly mixed, add the rice mixture to the turkey mixture. Take off heat and mix well.

5.) To stuff cabbage, place about 0.25c worth of filling in the middle of a cabbage leaf. Roll like a burrito, starting with the two side edges, then the bottom edge. Continue to fold away from you until cabbage leaf is completely sealed. Secure with wet toothpick. When all cabbage leaves are filled, preheat oven to 375 degrees.

7.) To make sauce: Using same pan as filling, set over medium heat. Mist with olive oil cooking spray and add reserved two tbs. of onions, garlic and mushrooms. Cook until onions are translucent, about 3 minutes.

8.) Add in tomato paste, water, apple cider vinegar, oregano, cinnamon, cayenne and thyme. Cook until fragrant, about 2 more minutes.

9.) Remove from heat and put about two spoonfuls of sauce on the bottom of a casserole dish (or cake pan if you have no dish, like me). Lay stuffed cabbages in dish and pour remaining sauce over cabbage.
10.) Cover dish with foil and bake for 45 minutes. ENJOY!

Okay... this recipe has major potential to be good and the only thing I would change: the sauce. The apple cider vinegar was WAY too strong and both Anthony and I didn't like it. The only time I had stuffed cabbage it was more of a marinara sauce so that's kinda what I was expecting. I think toning down on the vinegar and adding in more tomato flavor will totally make this recipe good.

Other than that, adding in a couple of egg whites to the filling mixture for more 'binding' power would totally make this recipe work better. Actually, eggs where called for in the recipe - there in my ingredient picture! - but I totally forgot to use them.

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