Monday, March 21, 2011

Stuffed Cabbage - Two Ways

I'm torn. I can't pick a favorite way to stuff a cabbage. Seriously! It would be like choosing between my kids. I'm half Polish, but my husband is who wins? Usually my mother ends up making the Polish variety and I end up never making the Turkish one. (Because cabbage stinks up the house when you cook it and it requires some planning. Who has time for planning? Sorry, honey!)

There's the Turkish/Middle Eastern method....

Lahana Sarması:
Core the cabbage. Boil in salted water until just tender. (Don't overcook it.) Drain and cool on a clean dishtowel. Cut the spines out of the leaves. Cut big leaves in half.


1/2 pound of ground lamb (or beef).
2 onions chopped fine
1/2 cup rice (medium grain)
1/2 cup parsley, chopped fine
Salt, pepper, and a dash of cumin.
Garlic to taste. (One head, roughly chopped - per mother-in-law)
Mix all these together until well combined.

Line the bottom of the pot with leftover small pieces of cabbage. Spoon a heaping tablespoon of filling and roll, folding in the sides and tucking the end under. Cover with water, placing a large heat-proof plate on the top to hold the rolls down. 

Boil, then simmer for 30-35 minutes til tender.

Serve with plain yogurt. To be honest, I think this is more of a middle eastern recipe. Turks would probably use more herbs and less garlic. Our family has lived in lots of places. :)

And the Polish Method....

Cabbage as above.

1large onion, chopped
2 Tablespoons butter
1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1 1/2 cups cooked rice (my babcia used barley sometimes)
1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup beef stock

Boil and simmer as above, or you could bake them for one hour in an oven at 350.

Top with plain tomato sauce. (Or ketchup if you're a kid, like me!)

Sheesh! I'm hungry... Which one would you choose? Do you have any variations? Alesa?
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Sarah said...

To be honest, they look pretty similar except for the beef stock.

I like stuffed cabbage but my boys don't so I don't bother to make it any more. I think I used to make it with pork stuffing, lots of garlic and parsley, and breadcrumbs.

Sarah said...

I think I might go with the yogurt presentation over the tomato sauce one, but they look pretty similar ... although, I have to admit, I have kind of a bias against cabbage and never cook with it. *ducks head*

Avo said...

Hmm.. I've never had the middle eastern version, I've have had something that was very close to the Polish version you describe in Romania.
They both sound yummy.
I don't have any variations that spring to mind, but if you have a microwave you can accelerate the preparation of the cabbage leaves by microwaving them at 700W for a minute and a half or so... Or stick them in a dish with bit of water and microwave on high for a few minutes.
I do have an Japanese stuffed cabbage leaves recipe you might like...
From start to finish this recipe can be made in under 30minutes...
Originally it calls for Chinese (Napa) cabbage, but I like to make it with red cabbage (both for the visual aspect and for the taste- though it's easier to shape the stuffed leaves with napa cabbage)...
You lightly blanch the leaves as for both of your recipes...

The stuffing uses thinly sliced pork (~190grs/6.7ounces), chopped cashews (~a handful), pale miso (a big spoonful), water (~200ml/1cup), 1/2mirin 1/2sake(~200ml/1cup) [balance the mix to taste], cane sugar (a teaspoon), hot red pepper (a teaspoon), black sesame (teaspoon), an optional pinch of grated ginger.

-The liquids, spices, and cashews are cooked down a bit.
-Just before the mixture starts to thicken add the meat, as it is sliced thinly it should cook in no time at all...
-And by the time the meat cooks, the whole should have reached a convenient stuffing texture.

At this point you simply take the blanched leaves, stick the stuffing in and plate.

Served with fresh rice and a dipping sauce made with rice vinegar, shoyu (soy sauce), dijon mustard, and little bit of pasted garlic (to taste).

The cashews soak up the flavour of the liquids and changes texture (feels kinda like ground meat) as you cook them, it's neat... Last time I made it, it was for a vegetarian and I replaced the meat with cooked down chopped white mushrooms. It was pretty tasty. : j

Jules said...

Dang, now I'M hungry. I guess I've always cooked the polish version but the Turkish sounds yummy too.

Hope I did not offend you with my last comment about the sisters.
Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

Tara said...

Love stuffed cabbage (I'm Polish, too). My grandmother/aunts/mother baked it with tomato soup though. Yum. So yum. My MC even makes it in my book, and there's a scene where her [very Polish] cousin is trying to explain to MC's boyfriend the real way to pronounce it.

Unknown said...

Oh, those look so yummy! I'm going to try it someday soon.

Jessica Bell said...

I'm in LOVE with the Greek version of this. Lahana Dolmades. So good! I'm so hungry now ...

Old Kitty said...

Oooh I do like cabbage! I'm a vegetarian though but cabbage seasoned and baked with anything is just yummy!! Take care

Carolyn V said...

Mmmm, that sounds soo good!

LTM said...

heck, girl! Either way sounds fantastic!!! :D JRM went through a phase recently where he was determined to cook w/cabbage... I'll run these past him and let him decide. :o) <3 said...

I'm with @OldKitty - seasoned and baked is yummy! But as for Turkish/Polish I will have to try both then decide. PS Don't come around, the house will smell like cabbage :)

Southpaw said...

I've made the Polish style and the German style but not the Turkish/Middle Eastern style. I think I might have to try it. Dipping in yogurt sounds pretty good.

Missed Periods said...

I'm banned from using cabbage in my house. I tried making sauerkraut from scratch years ago, and it smelled so bad, my husband won't let me near the stuff.

Deniz Bevan said...

Yum! I love eating the Turkish ground beef version with yogurt... said...

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