If you love stuffed cabbage rolls, then you’ll love this recipe! It takes the whole dish to a whole new level. I know some people are purists but you’ll be surprised to find there are many cultures including the Middle East that have their own variation of stuffed cabbage or some other kind of leaf. So I took the concept of the traditional Polish stuffed cabbage and used a more flavorful meat like ground lamb and complimenting it using the proper spices for it. Yet another fusion dish perhaps that is worth the prep work, I swear!
I’ll say though, it may sound like a lot of work but it really isn’t. You can make the lamb mixture the day before which is super fast. Then take care of the rest later. One major word of advice though is make sure you have a big, tall pot one you’d use to cook spaghetti in. Also, a hand held strainer that would fit a cabbage head in. This will make removing a piping hot cabbage head so much easier preventing burnt hands.
One last thing, the very end of the leaf can have a very thick spine which makes it difficult sometimes to roll the cabbage leaf. In the picture above you can see I cut an upside-down “V” to remove most of it off. It does make a big difference. Don’t worry about ruining the leaf! If you are confused and have any questions don’t hesitate to ask!
LAMB STUFFED CABBAGE ROLLS
In a pan over medium-high heat drizzle the olive oil and sauté the onions, garlic, black pepper, cumin, and cinnamon together until the onions are softened, about 7 minutes. Set aside to cool.
Mix the ground lamb, rice, cooled onion mixture, fresh cilantro and salt thoroughly in a large bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use.
Fill a large pot with water and bring to boil. Place the cabbage head carefully into the boiling hot water using a large strainer with a handle for about 5 minutes. You want the leaves to appear bright green.
Remove the cabbage head into a large bowl. Peel off some of the softened leaves and place onto a plate covered with paper towels. Place the cabbage back into the boiling water for a few minutes until the next layer of leaves are ready to be peeled. Do this a few times until you peel most of the leaves off the head. Save the damaged and/or outer leaves to cover the bottom and top of the baking dish.
Using a knife cut an upside-down “V” to remove the toughest part of the spine at the bottom of each leaf. This will make rolling the leaves easier. Place each cabbage leaf sideways, spoon about ¼ cup give or take of the lamb mixture onto the bottom part of the leaf. Roll it up and tuck in the sides before completely rolling it up.
Line a 9” x 13” baking dish with imperfect cabbage leaves, place the stuffed cabbage rolls into the baking dish and sprinkle the top with garlic powder, sea salt and pepper. Add the bay leaves and vegetable broth. Top the rolls with tomato puree, the remaining fresh chopped onion and feta crumbles.
Cover everything with remaining leftover cabbage leaves and aluminum foil. Bake at 350 F for about an 1h 15min to 1hr 30min. Everything should be boiling hot.
There really isn’t a whole lot to be said about why everyone should try this recipe at least one time. Especially if you’re a mega lover of peaches. I mean, who doesn’t like salsa? All sorts of salsa? You could keep it safe and use mango instead if you really want to. And it’d be amazing but this is just a whole other level of epic flavor. Trust me!
It’s Spring and Summer is right around the corner. And I’ve been eye balling The Peach Truck peaches at the Nashville Farmers Market as if I’ve been starved for months. And because I waited long enough, I snagged a half bushel of them. LOL Let’s just say I’ve made a lot of things with peaches so far. And you better believe I’ll be sharing them here! If you’re in Nashville, you must check out the Nashville Farmers Market and at the very least get an awesome brown bag of peaches from The Peach Truck.
Aside from diving into this pile of amazing with tortilla chips, I pan seared on high heat really nice center cut filets of cod (halibut is even better) with sea salt and pepper then finished a few minutes in the oven. Then topped the whole thing with a pile of the Peach Avocado Salsa. There are no words. Here’s a crappy picture of it… I was too lazy enjoying the food to go grab the nice camera LOL!
PEACH AVOCADO SALSA
Toss everything together in a large bowl. It's best when you let it sit for at least an hour in the fridge.
One of my favorite types of soups are bisques because they’re super warm in flavor (not just temperature), yield so much flavor, have a creamy factor without having to add cream or any dairy and can be rather good for you. So those who are lactose intolerance or vegetarian/vegan, this may be a go to for you! If you love roasted peppers then I promise you won’t be disappointed in this recipe. I put together a citrus lump crab salad to go with the soup but it’s not mandatory to make because you can do whatever you want. While the crab adds some elegance to the dish and would make for a great soup for guests, you can keep it casual like I did the other day. I paired it with a gruyere grilled cheese and it was so awesome! I’d imagine a quesadilla would do just as well too.
The brandy in the recipe is optional if you prefer to not cook with alcohol but it does make a subtle difference in depth of flavor. Keep in mind the alcohol does get cooked out. Also, depending on the size of your blender, you might have to puree in two separate batches. As always, I encourage you to make this recipe as fancy or casual as you like and please share what you come up with. I always love your new ideas. Enjoy!
CRAB & RED PEPPER BISQUE
In a medium bowl, mix together all of the ingredients for the citrus crab salad and refrigerate until ready to use.
Preheat the broiler on high. Place the 3 red bell peppers on a baking dish and broil until the skin is charred and blistered. Turn them often until all sides are done.
Remove the peppers from the oven and cover the peppers with a towel. Let cool.
Peel the skin from the peppers under cool water, remove the seeds, pat dry, rough chop and set aside.
Add 3 tablespoons of olive oil to a large pot over medium heat, then add 3 raw chopped bell peppers, leek, onion, garlic, and celery. Allow them to sweat for about 15 minutes, until very soft but not browned.
Add the bay leaf, thyme, salt, and pepper then stir. Pour the brandy into the pan, stir, increase the heat to medium-high and reduce the brandy completely.
Pour in the vegetable stock, stir and let everything come to a boil. Once it starts to boil, reduce the heat to low and let simmer for about 40 minutes.
Add the roasted peppers to the soup and run the soup through a high speed blender like a Vitamix until smooth.
Add any additional alt and cayenne to taste.
To assemble, arrange a few slices of avocado at the bottom of a bowl, and place the crab salad in the center. Pour the soup around the crab salad.
I shared a picture of these tacos on my Facebook page recently feeling completely unsure whether it would be a waste of time or not to share this recipe. Most people typically expect some kind of meat in their meals so it left me undecided. I know I shouldn’t really care especially if it’s good food because someone out there will enjoy it BUT lets face it… I’m female. Italian… I’m a pleaser. Enough said LOL! I will not disappoint you with these. They’re sweet. Spicy. Warm in flavor all the while still very fresh tasting. And it keeps well in the fridge for a week!
Of course you don’t have to use butter lettuce as the tortilla replacement. By all means, use your favorite tortilla if you like. Although I wanted to complete this healthy meal with a lighter, healthier option. Cabbage and Swiss chard are super yummy tortilla substitutes too. I’ve added avocado to it and even tried it with a little bit of my Roasted Jalapeno Guacamole which is pretty damn awesome! OH! How can I forget cheese… yeah, it’s kinda against my religion to have tacos with out cheese… yet I resisted this time for the recipe. That doesn’t mean you can’t do WHAT-EVER-YOU-WANT!
SPICY SWEET POTATO TACOS
Toss the sweet potato, cumin, paprika, coriander, cayenne pepper, and olive oil together. Place into a baking dish and bake at 400 F degrees for 15 - 20 minutes.
Over medium-high heat saute the onions and garlic with olive oil until the onions are translucent. Add the black beans, corn, sweet potato, rice, honey, and lime juice. Stir everything together and let it cook for about 3 minutes or until everything is warmed through.
Serve in individual butter lettuce leaves. Garnish with cilantro.
This fresh Cilantro Lime Rice is a huge thing lately and I gotta admit I’m hooked. I first discovered it at Chipotle probably like many of you. I have no shame admitting that I look forward to indulging there at times… it’s pretty much the only “fast food” I can stomach. But lets be honest… most times the Cilantro Lime Rice at Chipotle (whether it be white or brown) or pretty much anywhere lacks any punch. Both lime and cilantro are huge bold flavors for such fresh tasting ingredients. So I want to taste both in the rice. That is why I decided to come up with the perfect measurements to get it right every damn time!
One word of advice, make sure that one lime you use in the recipe is JUICY! Otherwise use another one. If you’re a lover of cilantro, add more if you want to. And before you go adding salt to it because you think it will need it, try it first! Typically lime and lemon added to foods usually mimics the purpose of salt. Feel free to use any rice but I feel the subtle earthiness of Jasmin rice compliments everything the best. Besides, white rice isn’t the greatest for you and it’s boring anyways 😀
CILANTRO LIME RICE
Cook the jasmine rice according to the packaging with vegetable stock instead of water. When done, stir the lime juice and cilantro together.