Cooking, Light and Satisfying
Chris and I are trying to use up some of the bounty of our garden harvest, hence the corn and poblano chowder last night and also, tonight’s dinner.
I actually started the prep for tonight’s dinner last night, because it is certainly a time consuming dish. It is not an every week type of dinner. It is very tasty, hearty and filling, though. The picture doesn’t necessarily do it justice, but hey, I’m a chef, not a photographer!
Actually, I have a great deal of respect for people who can photograph food and make it look good. A lot of the stuff I make looks good on the plate, but in photo’s…well…let’s just say it loses something in the translation.
Anyway, we grew some cabbage in our garden. The purple cabbage did pretty well, but didn’t get huge. The green cabbage suffered multiple slug and bug attacks and didn’t grow very large at all. I did have to supplement my purple cabbage with some store bought, but it is organic, so that will have to do.
This is another recipe courtesy of Cooking Light magazine (check them out at http://www.cookinglight.com). It is very hearty, filling and flavorful. I, of course, used their recipe as inspiration, and made a few tweaks to it based on what I had on hand and my tastes.
Whole Grain & Italian Sausage Stuffed Cabbage Rolls
Their recipe is as follows:
Yield: 6 servings (serving size: 2 cabbage rolls and about 1/3 cup sauce)
• 2 cups water
• 1/2 cup dried porcini mushrooms, crushed (about 1/2 ounce)
• 1 1/4 cups uncooked bulgur
• 2 teaspoons butter
• 1 teaspoon olive oil
• 1 cup finely chopped onion
• 2/3 cup finely chopped celery
• 2/3 cup finely chopped carrot
• 2 garlic cloves, minced
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
• 1 pound hot turkey Italian sausage
• 12 large Savoy cabbage leaves
• 2 cups canned crushed tomatoes
• 1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
• 2 teaspoons brown sugar
• 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1. Bring 2 cups water to a boil in a saucepan. Stir in mushrooms; cover, remove from heat, and let stand 10 minutes.
2. Uncover pan; bring mushroom mixture to a boil. Stir in bulgur; cover, remove from heat, and let stand 30 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Spoon bulgur mixture into a large bowl.
3. Heat butter and oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, celery, carrot, and garlic to pan; sauté 7 minutes or until tender and lightly browned. Add vegetables to bulgur mixture; cool slightly. Stir in salt and pepper. Remove casings from sausage. Crumble sausage into bulgur mixture; stir well to combine.
4. Add water to a large Dutch oven to a depth of 2 inches; set a large vegetable steamer in pan. Bring water to a boil over medium-high heat. Add cabbage leaves to steamer. Steam cabbage, covered, 6 minutes or until tender and pliable. Remove cabbage from steamer (do not drain water). Rinse cabbage with cold water; drain and pat dry.
5. Working with one cabbage leaf at a time, place 1/2 cup bulgur mixture in center of leaf. Fold in edges of leaf; roll up. Repeat procedure with the remaining cabbage leaves and bulgur mixture to form 12 cabbage rolls. Stack rolls evenly in steamer.
6. Return Dutch oven to medium-high heat; bring water to a boil. Steam rolls, covered, 30 minutes, adding more water if necessary.
7. Combine tomatoes, red wine vinegar, and sugar in saucepan; cook over medium heat 5 minutes or until thoroughly heated, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; stir in parsley. Serve sauce with rolls.
Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough, Cooking Light, MAY 2008
A great recipe, but as you can see, it is a LOT of work.
I started last night by rehydrating the mushrooms, cooking the bulgur wheat and sautéing the carrots, onions, celery (which I prepped in my food processor!). I combined all that and let it cool and then stuck it in the fridge.
Tonight I got out my defrosted ground Italian sausage (I didn’t have links, nor did I have hot) and crumbled it in a bowl. To that I added some celery seed, dried oregano, salt, pepper, cumin, cayenne, and garlic powder. I didn’t measure, just pinch or sprinkle and toss in there till it looked like enough to season a pound of sausage.
I then mixed that all together with my hands and then crumbled the sausage mixture into the bulgur mixture, which I had re-heating over low heat on the stove.
Making the rolls themselves is a bit of a pain in the patootie. My best advice: core the cabbage, and steam or microwave the entire head for a couple of minutes to try and make the individual leaves separate a little easier. Not much, mind you, but a little.
We used both purple and green cabbage leaves and had much more than 12 leaves, but they were more medium to small size than large. The larger the leaves the easier your stuffing and rolling. We had a pretty significant amount of stuffing left over, which I think I am going to use with some of the smaller remaining cabbage leaves to make a casserole style dish with the same ingredients.
Finish by steaming the stuffed rolls and topping with the tomato sauce.
For me this dish has a very similar feel and taste to meatloaf. Very comforting and great for the first dinner of fall. I think it was very helpful to break the prep up into two nights. I served this with a nice red wine and nothing else. There is actually a lot of leftover rolls, so we will be eating those for lunches through the weekend.
As always, if you decide to try this out, let me know your thoughts and any changes you made. Cooking is all about the experimenting process and sharing the results!
As Julia Child would say: Bon Appetite!