Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Eastern European Stuffed Cabbage in Sweet and Sour Tomato Sauce for National Vegan Month

This is the second vegan cabbage roll recipe I developed for National Vegan Month. (For the Asian-inspired recipe and more on November being National Vegan Month, click here.) Since I was writing this for a Jewish audience (the Temple Beth Abraham Omer), I thought I would tweak a traditional Ashkenazi style stuffed cabbage taste profile. It is still filling, still hearty, and still a great main course or perhaps an accompaniment to some Chanukah potato latkes.

The kasha (buckwheat groats) in the filling gives these cabbage rolls their hearty taste; a bit of ginger and a sweet and sour tomato sauce give them a lively, bright taste. I always found prepping the cabbage leaves for stuffing a bit intimidating. Some recipes have you whacking out the cabbage core and/or submerging and boiling a whole cabbage. I’ve developed a fairly fuss free way to prep the cabbage leaves that makes it relatively easy to prepare them for the stuffing (see recipe directions below). Give it a try.

East European Style Cabbage Rolls in Sweet and Sour Tomato Sauce
Serves 4

Large Savoy or green cabbage
2 Tbs. vegetable oil
½ cup finely chopped onions
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp. minced fresh ginger root
½ tsp. ground black pepper, divided
¼ tsp. red pepper flakes
1 carrot, chopped
½ cup of sliced mushrooms
½ tsp. salt, divided
1 cup uncooked kasha (buckwheat groats)
3 cups vegetable stock
¼ cup chopped parsley, plus additional for garnish
1 cup chopped tomatoes, divided
16 ounces plain tomato sauce
¼ tsp. ground dried ginger
1 Tbs. sugar
¼ cup apple cider vinegar

First prep the cabbage leaves. Score the bottom of the cabbage all the way around stem with a knife to detach the leaves from the stem. Pull off 10 of the outer leaves, making additional cuts at the stem if needed. Place the leaves in boiling water in a large pot. (You may want to prepare a few additional leaves in case of rips and tears or if you have some leftover stuffing.) Make sure the leaves are submerged. Cover and simmer for four to five minutes or until tender and pliable. Drain and let cool.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large frying or sauté pan, heat the oil over medium high heat. Add onion and sauté 1 minute, add garlic, ginger, ¼ tsp. of black pepper and red pepper flakes. Sauté for a minute. Add carrots, sauté for 3 minutes, then add the mushrooms. Sauté for 1 minute and add the kasha, stirring well. Add the stock, bring to a low simmer. Cover and lower heat, simmering until the stock is absorbed and the kasha is cooked through (about 8 to 10 minutes), stirring occasionally. Taste and add more black pepper if needed and ¼ tsp. of salt or as needed. Mix in ½ cup of chopped tomato and ¼ cup parsley.

In a small sauce pan over medium low heat, mix the tomato sauce, ground ginger, ¼ tsp. salt and ¼ tsp. of ground pepper, sugar and remaining tomatoes. Cook, stirring frequently, until the tomatoes have begun to soften. Take off the heat. Add the vinegar. Stir well and taste. Adjust by adding more sugar or vinegar as needed and more salt and pepper as desired. Ladle a thin layer of the sauce on the bottom of a 9x12-inch baking pan.

Spread a cabbage leaf on a cutting board. Cut off hard end of stem. Place ¼ cup of filling in the middle of the leaf. Fold over the two shorter sides of the leaf. Fold over one of the longer sides, then the other. Place folded side down in the baking pan. Repeat with other leaves. Spread sauce evenly over top of cabbage rolls. Bake until the sauce is bubbling and the rolls are cooked through, approximately 45-50 minutes. Garnish with parsley before serving.


Canvas Photos said...

Hey this looks awesome. Thanks for the recipe.

Scott at Real Epicurean said...

Yes! My Wife is Polish and this kind of food always makes an appearance.