If there is one food that’s the ultimate fantasy, then it’s none other than the greek stuffed cabbage rolls. It’s an excellent gourmet dish with a truly significant history in the greek culinary tradition. It’s a meal that we prefer to enjoy on Sunday, the day when we eat with those that we love and that means a lot.
It’s an easy recipe which however requires some attention in the preparation of each stage. The stuffing of the cabbage leaves is a sacred moment. Each stage of the recipe is an initiation into the beauty of the folk culinary wisdom.
To start off, it’s very crucial to choose the appropriate cabbage for the stuffing. When choosing a cabbage for your rolls, pick one that its leaves are loosely packed. Our cabbage should also be super fresh, with no wilted or dark leaves. A cabbage that is not fresh, when cooked, will give your rolls a very unpleasant taste.
The finely chopped herbs, the onions, the spices, the rice and the perfect quality minced meat are the ingredients that define the distinctively delicious result. Stuffed cabbage rolls can also be vegetarian, if we don’t add minced meat in our filling. Many also experiment with different kinds of fillings, for example stuffing the cabbage leaves with finely chopped seafood and fish flesh, combined with fresh herbs, rice, lentils etc.
Perfecting the procedure of rolling the cabbage leaves comes with time, experience and practice. Don’t be disappointed if you can’t manage it properly in the beginning! To enjoy all the preparation is what really matters. Whether big or small, your greek stuffed cabbage rolls will be super delicious with this recipe! Another crucial point that you should take into consideration, is that you should simmer the food, so as your rolls won’t be destroyed during cooking. The use of an inverted plate is essential and helps a lot.
Finally, special mention to our egg-lemon sauce as it gives to the food an airy taste and a highly stimulating sourness that we think you are going to love! You should cook greek stuffed cabbage rolls to the people that really mean a lot to you. Don’t forget to add all your love in the stuffing, except for all the other ingredients…your love will be noticed and everyone will be grateful to you!
- 1 loosely packed cabbage (approximately 2 kg.)
- ¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
- Hot water
- 1 cube of bio chicken stock
- 1 lemon, juice only
- 500gr. ground beef chuck
- 150gr. ground pork shoulder
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 medium onions, pureed in the blender
- 2 fresh scallions, finely chopped
- 150gr. long-grain parboiled rice
- 1tsp. ground cumin
- 1 handful of parsley and fresh dill, finely chopped
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2tbsp. all-purpose flour
- Broth from the cabbage rolls
- 2 lemons, juice only
- 1 egg
In a pan add the olive oil and sauté both scallions and onions in medium heat for 5 minutes.
Add the rice, the cumin, the parsley, the dill and both kinds of ground meat.
Season and sauté for additional 5 minutes.
Remove the pan from the heat and set aside allowing the filling to cool while you prepare the cabbage leaves.
Discard the outer leaves of the cabbage.
Cut carefully the stem of the cabbage with a sharp knife in the shape of a cone, in order to remove the hard part of the base.
Place the cabbage in a big casserole with the removed stem facing down.
Fill the casserole halfway with water and bring to the boil.
Gently blanch the cabbage for 10 minutes and then flip over for additional 10 minutes so as all leaves are evenly blanched.
By that time, all the leaves should be soft in order to roll them.
Remove the casserole from the heat.
With the aid of a slotted spoon, transfer the cabbage in a big bowl under running cold water.
In this way it will be easier for you to start removing the cabbage leaves without burning your lovely fingers!
Don’t throw the ruined and small leaves away, because you will be using them as a layer on the bottom of the casserole!
Place the removed cabbage leaves in a big platter near your chopping board and get ready to roll baby!
The fun begins here..!
Place one leaf on your chopping board and using a small knife remove the thick inner vein.
If your leaf is too big then cut it in half.
Add a spoonful of the filling on the bottom center of the leaf near you.
Don’t overfill the cabbage roll, as the rice will expand during cooking and your cabbage roll will be destroyed!
Carefully fold the lower section of the leaf over the filling towards the center.
Now bring the two sides in towards the center and roll up loosely.
This is your first stuffed cabbage leaf and you should be very proud!
It does not matter if your rolls are not all the same size.
Repeat with the rest of the leaves until there is no filling left.
Layer the bottom of the casserole with the removed ruined and small leaves that you kept before.
Lay on top the stuffed cabbage rolls, folded side facing down, until you have completed a layer of tightly placed rolls.
Season with salt and pepper and repeat forming a second layer until there are no rolls left.
Season again and add the ¾ cups of olive oil, the cube of bio chicken stock and the lemon juice.
Place an inverted plate that fits well the size of the casserole on top to hold the cabbage rolls down while cooking.
Carefully pour in enough hot water to almost cover the top of the plate.
Cover the casserole with a lid and bring gently to the boil.
Turn the heat down and cook over low-medium heat for about 30-40 minutes, until cabbage rolls are soft and tender.
Your cabbage rolls should simmer or else they will unfold!
To make sure the rolls are cooked, lift carefully the lid and the plate and try one.
If everything is ok, then remove casserole from the heat and set aside.
Remove the lid.
With the aid of a towel, hold the plate in place while you tip the casserole over a bowl removing all the remaining broth.
Remove the plate and start the preparation of the lemon sauce.
Pour olive oil in a saucepan over low heat.
Add flour and whisk continuously to make a smooth paste or roux.
Allow mixture to cook for a couple of minutes, but do not allow it to brown.
Add the broth from the cooked cabbage rolls and the lemon juice to the mixture in a steady stream, whisking continuously.
Remove from heat and set aside.
Beat the egg in a blender and add it to the mixture, stirring constantly until smooth.
Pour this sauce in the casserole over the cabbage rolls and shake well in circular motion.