Thursday, August 27, 2009
Summer Cabbage Rolls with Leeks, Mushrooms and Slivered Almonds
From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...Mama S. worked furiously at this time of year. Any grass remaining in her backyard had long been overrun by a garden that teemed with with vegetables; tomatoes and peppers were especially abundant. She also grew herbs that were completely foreign to the rest of the neighborhood. Fresh garlic, basil and rosemary were still exotics and would not appear in most kitchens for another 20 years. I had my first taste of pesto in her fragrant, summer kitchen. Mama refused to work in the basement though a stove had been provided for her there. As a result her kitchen, already sweltering in the heat of a Midwestern August, became a furnace when water in canning kettles came to a boil. She had a routine. She also had a shtick and I, around the age of ten, became her audience and her tomato peeler. There were days when her sisters would join her and, for lack of space, I'd be relegated to the porch to complete my task where I, fascinated by the antics of this large and boisterous family, would shamelessly eavesdrop. By September her pantry, huge by today's standards, was lined with jars of jewel toned tomatoes, peaches, pears, corn and beans. Very little was wasted in that kitchen. Water boiling in those kettles was used to blanch cabbage leaves for rolls much lighter than their winter cousins. I came across a recipe similar to Mama's in an old issue of Taste Italia and decided to give it a try. These summer rolls take about 20 minutes to prepare and an additional 50 minutes or so to cook, so plan accordingly. I served these with a plain roast chicken. They'd also be great with a pork roast. If you're looking for something a little different, you might want to give this recipe a try.
Summer Cabbage Rolls with Leeks, Mushrooms and Slivered Almonds...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite
1 small Savoy cabbage
8 ounces leeks, white and tender green, washed, trimmed and finely chopped
8 ounces wild mushrooms, cleaned and finely chopped
2 tablespoons butter
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons sweet paprika
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
Salt and pepper to taste
1) Preheat oven to 400 degree F.
2) Remove 8 large outer leaves from cabbage. Bring 6 quarts of water to a boil. Blanch leaves for 1 to 2 minutes to soften slightly. Plunge into cold water to retain color. Drain. Remove tough lower spine.
3) Finely chop 2 cups of remaining cabbage. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add cabbage, leeks, garlic and mushrooms and saute for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Add almonds, lemon juice and paprika to mixture and cook for an aditional 5 minutes. Remove pan from heat and allow to cool. Add egg and salt and pepper to mixture. I used 1/2 teaspoon pepper and 1 teaspoon of salt, but these really should be added according to individual taste. Mix well.
4) Divide stuffing between blanched cabbage leaves. Roll leaves tightly. Place, seam-side down and tightly packed, in a single layer in an ovenproof pan. Pour vegetable broth around the rolls. Cover pan with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Serve piping hot. Yield: 8 cabbage rolls.