stuffed cabbage rolls

One of the ways I keep my upper arms fit in the fall is to repeatedly lift the slow cooker down from the pantry shelves. Cooking in this way just fits the season. It’s nice to get the prep out of the way early in the day, so as to spend more time enjoying the afternoons while we still have them. And there’s something about the way the aromas fill the house that make coming in from the chilly air a positive delight. I love it when the door opens at the end of the day and I hear Alex call, “Hey! Something smells good!”

This is one of my favorites for fall. I have no idea where I found the original recipe, it suffices to say that it was not my own and it now is, due to many little tweakings. I do not even know which nation we have to thank for this idea. In my experience of the subject, stuffed cabbage rolls have been attributed to Russia, Poland, Croatia, Hungary, and Israel. One source told me firmly that they were Jewish, a traditional food of the feast of Purim, where many foods use a pocket to symbolize the deceit of Haman. It is true that the first time I ate a stuffed cabbage roll was in Israel in 2000, but they were cooked by a Palestinian lady!

I serve them with rice and green vegetables. 

Lamb-Stuffed Cabbage Rolls
Filling: (mix)
1 lb. ground lamb
3/4 to 1 c. cooked white rice
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. each cinnamon, nutmeg, and thyme
1/8 tsp. or so fresh ground pepper

Steam about 10-12 cabbage leaves or soften by dropping them a few at a time into boiling water for about a minute. Drain and cool them slightly. Put a little mound of filling on each leaf (about 3 TBS.) and roll top over, sides in, wrap around. Stack in slow cooker.

Sauce: (mix)
1/2 c. water
about 1/3 c. dry cabernet sauvignon
6 oz. regular tomato paste or about 1/4 c. super-concentrated tomato puree

Pour sauce over rolls in pot and cover tightly. Cook on low for 4-5 hours. Be careful not to overcook–try switching to warm after 4.5 hours.


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