This is a first. I like stuffed cabbage leaves but I always use this dark green curly cabbages (like Savoy) to make them, and I never used the round and firm white cabbages that are used to make coleslaw. But I happened to have a big white cabbage and the outer leaves were sort of green... I managed to remove 7 leaves before the cabbage become to compact to pull apart. Then I washed them and boiled them in salted water (which I later used to make vegetable broth for an Asian noodle soup - never waste!). I also boiled a few more cabbage leaves that got broken while I was trying to pull them away: they were going to be used in the filling.
For the filling I used some cooked cabbage leaves, a couple of slices of vegetarian bacon, chopped parsley, breadcrumbs, smoked salt, chili flakes, coriander seeds and smoked garlic. I mushed everything with my hands and divided the filling between the 7 leaves, and then I rolled them up.
I prepared a soffritto with a shallot, half a carrot, a celery stick, and some chopped parsley, all sautéed with a little olive oil.
I added the cabbage leaves and let them sauté on one side only for a few minutes.
Then I added one cup of tomato passata (Italian tomato sauce) and one cup of vegetable broth. I covered the pot with a lid and let the cabbage rolls simmer for 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes I added the content of a can of Italian brown lentils (their water included) and simmered everything for another 30 minutes.
Well, I just managed to taste one, the other six were two each for the kids and the babysitter (I was teaching that night), to be eaten with bruschetta (actually, just a baguette cut into slices and the brushed with olive oil, sprinkled with salt and baked until golden and crispy, the kids just love it!!). The result? I was pleasantly surprised: I am not a fan of white cabbage, but in this way it tasted great! Pity that I could not get more leaves out of it, maybe I need to boil the whole cabbage and then try to pull off the leaves... next time I will try. Or maybe I will just go back to use my usual Savoy cabbages! :-)
Photos and Recipes by Alessandra Zecchini ©