Off with their head (of cabbage)! This week, my mom gave Maddie and me the gift of a Napa cabbage. I’ve never done stuffed cabbage before, so I decided to give it a whirl after looking up a recipe online and giving it a once-over. I combined the idea behind this recipe with my own perception of what stuffed cabbage should be and the result was this
Red Queen Stuffed Cabbage
This meal was hearty and made us feel all toasty warm inside-the perfect end to a brisk (and long!) day. I stuffed my cabbage with a combination of brown rice, mushrooms, red peppers, shallot slices, and almond pulp from my homemade almond milk. (look for a post on this process soon!) The sauce is a simple mix of stewed canned tomatoes and spices, along with a little touch of vinegar and a hint of mustard to give it a nice tang. While the instructions may appear lengthy, this recipe is actually quite simple. Though it has several components, once each is made they assemble together into a smooth symphony of savory goodness that hits your palate in all of the right places.
Red Queen Stuffed Cabbage
7-12 cabbage leaves (depending on size and how full you stuff them!)
1 cup brown rice
1.5 cups apple juice
2 cans stewed tomatoes
1 small red bell pepper, finely chopped
1 shallot, minced
2 medium sized mushrooms, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced (one for the filling, one for the sauce)
1 cup nut pulp/finely chopped raw almonds or walnuts *(optional)*
dash of the following:
Filling: dried basil, dried oregano, salt, pepper, chili powder, paprika
Sauce: mustard (dried or wet), white vinegar, salt, pepper, paprika
3-4 tablespoons olive oil, for sautéing
Hand blender or food processor, deep/large pot (what I call a “spaghetti” pot), sauce pan, rice cooker/pan to cook rice in, wooden spoons/spatulas of your choice
Cook rice using the standard 2:1 ratio, but substituting 1 cup apple juice for one of the cups of water. (Note: I’ve found that brown rice takes a little more water and slightly longer to cook than white rice. Be sure to add just a little over 2 cups of liquid and prepare for a slightly extended cooking time that’s very worth the wait!) Cook rice with spices and 1 clove minced garlic. While rice is cooking, sauté shallot, mushrooms, and pepper until the pepper and mushrooms are soft and the shallot is transparent. When the rice has finished cooking, stir in shallot/pepper mixture and 1/4 cup nut pulp (if desired) and toss to incorporate. Now, prepare your sauce. Sauté the remaining clove of garlic in 2 tablespoons olive oil. When the garlic is toasted, add in 2 cans of tomatoes along with their juice, the mustard, vinegar, remaining 1/2 cup apple juice, a dash of salt and pepper, 1/2 cup nut pulp (if desired) and a dash of paprika. Simmer over low heat until bubbly, then blend using a hand blender or food processor. Spoon about a quarter of the sauce into a large, deep pot and reserve the rest to pour over top of the cabbage pockets. Remove a cabbage leaf from the head, spoon some filling into its center, then fold the ends in toward the middle, rolling as you go. Place the newly formed cabbage pocket creases down in the pool of sauce in the large pot. Repeat until your filling supply has been depleted, then top cabbages with remaining sauce. Simmer over low heat for 15-20 minutes or until cabbage has cooked slightly (careful not to overcook!) and sauce is bubbly and slightly thickened. Top with remaining nut pulp or nutritional yeast flakes.
I’ll be taking a break from blogging for a day or two as the spring semester gears up on Monday, but have a smashing weekend, and a beautiful tomorrow.