This healthy, colorful, and filling stuffed cabbage is a vegetarian delight.
This stuffed cabbage features kasha (coarse buckwheat groats) loaded with a rainbow panoply of sautéed root vegetables of your choosing. Unlike a traditional sweet and sour stuffed cabbage that is braised in a tomato sauce, this recipe calls for neither additional cooking after the wilted cabbage leaves have been stuffed, nor for a sauce. The result is a vibrant dish that highlights the crunch of the cruciferous cabbage. Make this dish entirely vegan by cooking the kasha without an egg.
Equipment: cutting board; chef’s knife; paring knife; peeler; stockpot or large Dutch oven; tongs; smaller lid; small mixing bowls; clean dish towel; dry and wet measuring cups; measuring spoons; large sauté pan; wooden spoon
1 small head purple cabbage
2 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil
1 leek, cleaned, trimmed (discard dark green part), and chopped
4 cups diced (macédoine) mixed root vegetables, such as winter squash, turnips, carrots, celeriac, fennel, carrots, and sweet potatoes 1 teaspoon dried marjoram
2 cups cooked kasha (buckwheat groats)
¼ cup golden raisins
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
ILOC tip: use what you have. The filling of this recipe is incredibly forgiving. No leeks? Use scallions or onions instead. Don't like turnips or fennel, but love sweet potatoes and carrots? No problem! Make this your own with the flavors and colors you love.
1. Heat a large stockpot filled halfway with water over high heat. Once the water comes to a boil, blanch the chives for 20-30 seconds in the water. Remove the chives and place them in a small bowl of ice water. Set aside.
2. Scoop a cup of water from the pot and place in a small bowl. Add the golden raisins to soak so that they plump and soften. Set aside.
3. Gently lower the cabbage head in the pot of boiling water, stem-side up, and turn off the heat. Soak the cabbage in the water for 15 minutes, covering with a lid smaller than the diameter of the pot to keep the cabbage submerged, if necessary. Remove the cabbage carefully to a dark, clean towel (or paper towels) to drain until cool enough to handle.
ILOC tip: the purple cabbage turns the water blue, releasing its stain into the liquid. Use a dark dish towel to drain the cabbage, otherwise use disposable, paper towels. If you prefer to use a small green Savoy cabbage, that will work beautifully, too.
4. Remove the core of the cabbage with the sharp point of a paring knife and discard. Carefully remove the leaves, one at a time until you have eight good leaves without any tears at the center. Set aside. Store the remaining cabbage for later use.
5. In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, add the oil to the pan and swirl to coat. Add the leeks and sauté for 3 minutes, until softened but not at all browned. Add the macédoine of root vegetables to the pan and sauté for 6-7 minutes, or until cooked and softened. Sprinkle with dried marjoram, and season to taste with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.
6. Combine the sautéed vegetables with the cooked kasha. Strain the soaking raisins and stir them in the kasha mixture along with the chopped parsley. Taste and add kosher salt and freshly ground pepper as needed.
7. Place a portion - approximately scant ½ cup - of the mixture in the center of each cabbage leaf. Fold over the sides and then roll them up carefully. Tie each cabbage roll with a wilted chive.
8. Serve immediately, or place in small casserole, covered, and warm for 20 minutes in a 350°F oven.
Makes 8 parcels.
ILOC tip: the kasha and root vegetables can be served as a salad in a wilted cabbage cup as an alternative to a traditional cabbage parcel.