Updated: Feb 23
Fascinating stuff! Stuffed cabbage may be everyday peasant food found in many cultures and no wonder. It's cheap, great for using leftovers and takes advantage of cabbage, a winter food that keeps over all those cold days, supplies good nutrition and can be adapted to the tastes found in cuisines throughout Europe and Asia. Here is some information from Wikipedia on the topic.
A cabbage roll is a dish consisting of cooked cabbage leaves wrapped around a variety of fillings. It is common to the cuisines of Central, Northern, Eastern and Southeastern Europe and much of Western Asia, Northern China, as well as parts of North Africa. Meat fillings are traditional in Europe, and include beef, lamb, or pork seasoned with garlic, onion, and spices. Grains such as rice and barley, mushrooms, and vegetables are often included as well. Fermented cabbage leaves are used for wrapping, particularly in southeastern Europe. In Asia, seafoods, tofu, and shiitake mushrooms may also be used. Chinese cabbage is often used as a wrapping.
Cabbage leaves are stuffed with the filling and are then baked, simmered, or steamed in a covered pot and generally eaten warm, often accompanied with a sauce. The sauce varies widely by cuisine. In Sweden and sometimes in Finland, stuffed cabbage is served with lingonberry jam, which is both sweet and tart. In Eastern Europe, tomato-based sauces or plain sour cream are typical. In Lebanon, the cabbage is stuffed with rice and minced meat and only rolled to the size of a cigar. It is usually served with a side dish of yogurt and a type of lemon and olive oil vinaigrette seasoned with garlic and dried mint.
As you can see, there are many variations of stuffed cabbage with diverse sauces. I prefer a stuffed cabbage that’s not conventional yet pleases my palate with its butter and chicken bone broth sauce.
The recipe is as follows: Chop a large shallot and saute in a tablespoon of butter until lightly browned, then set aside to cool. When cooled, add one cup of cooled, cooked basmati rice and mix well. Add one pound of chopped turkey, salt, pepper and one egg. Once combined well, place a large tablespoon of the mixture into parboiled leaves taken from a large head of cabbage. This recipe usually results in approximately ten bundles.
Using a Dutch oven or large skillet, tuck in all stuffed leaves and pour three cups of chicken bone broth over all. Scatter some of the remaining leaves over the bundles and dot with three tablespoons of butter.
Slow cook at a gentle simmer for about one hour or until very tender. Serve with some of the buttery broth and top with chopped fresh parsley.
Although my spouse likes this recipe, after a few bites he’s off to the refrigerator to retrieve the ketchup. UGH!