Well hi there.
I left and now I am back.
I went to LA for a bit. Had some important business to take care of. Most importantly, Jay Leno asked me to come to his show and sit in the front row and awkwardly bob my body (mostly foot action) to his band's music. I am useful.
No but really, I have spent the last week eating out and getting less comfortable with my winter coat (the fat one). As always, I have been eager to get back into the kitchen. LA definitely inspired me in many ways. You will see some of the fruit of that mental labor later on.
Tonight, I made this dish from elly says opa!. She has said on her blog that this is one of her two favorite dinners to have at home. It is steamed cabbage leaves stuff with a rice and ground beef mixture. We def. enjoyed the dish. I always love a good sauce and this is a very lemony sauce, which was delicious. I must admit that it would be a little difficult for me to eat the stuffed cabbage without the sauce. Not enough moisture and flavor in the stuffed cabbage alone. But with the sauce, it is very good. Please remember, though, that I like my meat full of fat (and this calls for a lean ground beef, which I did use). I would rather eat no meat than lean meat. It ain't my style. So: do I like white or dark meat t-giving turkey?
You are right, I do prefer the dark meat. However, with a good gravy, I don't mind the slightly drier white meat. And if there is a good cranberry sauce...even better. Sometimes, it is the sauce and condiments that make the dish.
Stuffed Cabbage with Egg Lemon Sauce (Lahanodolmades Avgolemono)
adapted from elly says opa!
For Stuffed Cabbage:
1 large onion
1 lb. ground beef
1/2 cup white rice
1 egg, beaten
2-3 tbsp fresh dill, minced
2-3 tbsp fresh parsley, minced
1 tsp. salt
ground pepper to taste
2–2.5 cups chicken or vegetable stock
For Avgolemono Sauce:
3 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (about 3 lemons)
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add some salt. Meanwhile, peel the outermost leaves of the cabbage off and discard. With one hand on the cabbage to steady it, use a small paring or utility knife to cut around the core of the cabbage. Pop the core out with the tip of your knife. Then, add the cabbage to the boiling water and boil until the leaves are tender, about 12 minutes. Carefully peel the cabbage, layer by layer, reserving the leaves. If they are big, cut them in half. The inside of the cabbage will not soften as much as the outside leaves, set those inside leaves aside (save about 10-13 of the outer leaves to stuff).
While the cabbage is boiling, juice the lemons for the Avgolemono sauce, set aside and save the rinds. Cut the large onion in half. Finely dice one half to use for the cabbage filling and cut the other half into about 5-6 pieces.
In a pot or dutch oven (I just use the same one as I did for the cabbage), put in the inside pieces of the cabbage (cut into 5-6 pieces), the large pieces of half the onion and the lemon rinds.
Lightly mix your ground beef, rice, beaten egg, finely diced half onion, dill, parsley, salt and pepper until the ingredients are incorporated. Lay a cabbage leaf flat on your work surface and place about two heaping tablespoons of the meat mixture at one end of the leaf. Tuck in the sides of the leaf and then proceed to roll it up. Place the rolled up cabbage seam side down on top of bed of veggies. Continue stuffing/rolling the remaining cabbage and placing them next to each other in the pot. When you have one layer completed, make another layer of the stuffed cabbage.
After you have made all your rolls, pour water or broth into the pot. The cabbage rolls shouldn’t be submerged completely, but you should be able to see the liquid coming up from the sides. I also place an inverted plate on top of the rolls, to
keep some pressure on them so they don’t open during cooking. Bring the broth to a boil and then cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for about 60-75 minutes, until the cabbage is very tender.
To make the avgolemono, mix together the eggs and lemon juice and then add the corn starch to make a slurry. Remove all the cabbage rolls from the pot and put on serving platter. Remove all the veggies from the broth and discard. Take a
few ladles of the broth from the cabbage rolls and slowly add it to the egg-lemon mixture, beating continuously. Then, add the avgolemono into the pot, again stirring continuously. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve sauce over cabbage rolls.
(Servings: 4, Prep time: 30 min., Cook time 75 min., Difficulty: Easy)
Shanon (taste): 6/10
Scot (taste): 6/10
Dishwashing Effort: 2/5