Monday, March 1, 2010

Stuffed Cabbage (Not Exactly Like Grandma Made Them)

I suppose we all have our contradictions. I generally don't miss meat at all -- but sometimes I crave my Grandma's stuffed cabbage. And, so, while I usually am not interested in re-creating traditional dishes without the meat, I have tried different meatless versions of stuffed cabbage over the years -- ranging from wonderful version at a Ukrainian restaurant in New York City to a best-forgotten attempt using mock meat "crumbles."

I recently noticed a recipe for "Cabbage Parcels" in the Vegetarian Suppers from Deborah Madison's Kitchen cookbook. The parcels -- stuffed with a pureed blend of barley, pecans, cashews, mushrooms, onions, and cheddar cheese -- sounded interesting, even if a bit different from the stuffed cabbage that I grew up with. And so, I decided to give them a try.

I followed the recipe pretty closely, up until it came to stuffing the cabbage leaves. The recipe said to bind the cabbage parcels with kitchen string to hold them together. I skipped this part, and instead just stuffed the cabbage the way I remember seeing it done as a girl -- dab of stuffing in the center of a steamed cabbage leaf, fold the top and then the bottom of the leaf up over the middle, and then carefully tuck the two sides underneath. The stuffed leaves then went into a large skillet of tomato sauce to simmer for about 30 minutes.

I was really pleased with the outcome -- the cabbage rolls weren't exactly like Grandma made them, but were closer than I expected, and also just plain tasty. Folks who are looking for a good homemade veg burger should check out the filling recipe ("Brown Rice-Mushroom 'Burgers,'" from the same cookbook) -- the nut/grain/mushroom blend has a good flavor and even looks surprisingly meat-like (if that's what you're into).

13 comments:

bonnie said...

Great change up..I love the addition of cashews in this recipe. great pics!

sweetlife

Karla said...

I've wanted to make cabbage rolls but was sad that they had meat in them :(
These looks great!

Dee said...

oh, my!! Those do look delicious. I love cabbage rolls in any form, it is one of those comfort foods I guess. I love Deborah Madison's cookbooks & this looks wonderful. Great job. I may be trying this soon.

dirtyduck said...

wow that does look ...well meaty..really really meaty..lol
the filling sounds like it would work well in a lot of def things. ill have to give it a try.

Dana said...

I've looked at that recipe so many times and just have never made them. So glad to know they are worth the effort. My mom made stuffed cabbage with rice studded beef which I used to love in my meat-eating days.

Monica said...

Oh how I love cabbage rolls! I've made them once before with TVP and they were deeelicious. You remind me that I must make them again. Perhaps even tonight... I love the addition of mushrooms to the mix, and I have a huge bag of them in the fridge that need to be used.. my Polish side is drooling.

Monica said...

So I made cabbage rolls last night and they were kind of disappointing... I did barley, mushrooms, walnuts, onion and a bit of allspice. But it wasn't quite savory enough. Looking at yours, I see I didn't dice the mushrooms finely enough, so it was all a bit bitsy. What type of season do you use in yours?

I made some last year with TVP that turned out quite good. Back to the drawing board for me...

Beatrice said...

Hi, Monica. Sorry your cabbage rolls didn't turn out. The filling in these rolls is seasoned a combination of browned onions, dried sage, dried thyme, and tamari/soy sauce. I also think there's something to the other ingredients: chopped pecans, cashews, and cheddar cheese. I can't re-publish the recipe b/c of copyright issues, but you can find it in Vegetarian Suppers From Deborah Madison's Kitchen ("Brown Rice Mushroom Burgers").

Hope that helps,

B

mangocheeks said...

Beatrice
They do look mighty fine, and looking at yours i wished I had made these. Instead with the same recipe I and made burgers, but with the remainder I decided to make some Savoury swirls.
http://allotment2kitchen.blogspot.com/2010/02/brown-rice-mushroom-savoury-swirls.html

PJH said...

Ms. Root:
Those do look good. Interested in trying them, if you don't mind passing along the recipe.
Not sure what Grandma would think.

Tricia O'Brien said...

Great Blog! I haven't made cabbage rolls in ages, thanks for the inspiration! T
www.cafetrix.blogspot.com

mike said...

Yea love the blog, these cabbages look incredible. I've made a similar dish to this but stuffing eggplant instead of cabbage.

honeybeecooksjackfruit said...

I miss my grandmas stuffed cabbages too. Must try this recipe, thanks!