In Greek they are called ‘lahanodolmades’ and this dish is one of my absolute favorites! Cabbage is now in season and at its best – it is very tasty and sweet. For stuffed cabbage leaves, it is better to choose a large cabbage that feels ‘light’. That is the leaves are not tightly furled, and it is easier to separate them. This is theSavoycabbage variety. If you are a cabbage fan, you should try this recipe.
Ingredients: 1 large cabbage 300 gr. minced meat (anything you like, pork or beef) 1 onion grated ½ cup rice 2 – 3 tablespoonfuls chopped parsley 1 – 2 tablespoonfuls chopped dill The white of one egg The yolks from two eggs 1 ½ teaspoons corn flour Juice of one lemon (it depends how big it is and how sour you like your food) Two tablespoonfuls olive oil Two knobs of butter or margarine ¼ – ½ cup milk Salt and freshly ground pepper
Remove the outer wilted leaves of the cabbage. Then start separating the leaves carefully. For this quantity of meat you will need about 20 – 25 leaves, and you will make about the same number of cabbage rolls. It depends on the size of the leaves – if they are large you can cut them in half – and how much of the filling you use for each roll.
Cut off the hard stems of the leaves, wash them and place them on the bottom of your pot. This will prevent the cabbage rolls from sticking to the pot. Place water in a pot and when it boils place the cabbage leaves about two or three at a time. Leave them in the boiling water for about 1 minute. You want them to be soft enough so that they won’t break when you roll up. Remove them from the water and put them on a plate. Do the same with all the leaves.
Place the minced meat, rice, grated onion, parsley and dill, white of one egg, salt and pepper and mix everything well.
Keep the pot with the cabbage stems on the bottom next to you, so that you can place the cabbage rolls in it. Take a cabbage leaf. If it is big you can cut it in half. Remove all tough parts. Lay it on your work surface, and if you want you can trim it so that you have a ‘square’ more or less. Place a teaspoon or a bit more of the filling on the leaf leaving about half an inch of the leaf on the top. Fold the top over the filling. Fold the sides inwards so that you cover the filling as much as possible. Then roll it, and place it in the pot with the open side downwards. Do the same with all the leaves until you use up the filling. Place the little rolls tightly the one next to the other, so that they don’t ‘dance around the pot!
Add the oil and the butter or margarine, some salt and pepper and enough water to cover the rolls. When the water starts boiling, place a plate over them, to keep the rolls down. Reduce the heat to about 2 (out of 6) and let them simmer gently for one hour. At the end you should have about one to one and a half cups of liquid left.
In the meantime dissolve the corn flour in the milk. Squeeze the lemon. Beat the two egg yolks and add the lemon juice, beating gently. Then pour the milk in the egg mixture, beating continuously. Now take spoonfuls of the hot liquid from the pot and add them to the egg mixture, while beating gently. When you have added almost all the liquid, pour everything back into the pot. Shake the pot so that the sauce goes everywhere and turn the heat up a little (to about 4) and let it boil gently for 1 – 2 minutes until the sauce thickens a bit. Taste the sauce and if you wish you can add some more lemon juice or perhaps some salt and pepper.
You can serve the cabbage rolls with a green salad, feta cheese and fresh crusty bread to mop up the delicious sauce.