Let me say right up front that I try not to share a recipe without a photo of the finished product. I’m doing it today because this recipe is just that good. I struggle with taking photos once it gets dark and now that the sun sets at around 5 pm it’s always dark when I finish cooking. I apologize…
Once again I came across this recipe in the Off Duty section of the Wall Street Journal. Every Saturday morning I tear into the paper searching for this part of the paper knowing there’s a good chance I’ll find a recipe to try. Take a look at some of my favorites:
Almost Confit Chicken
Apple Cake with Cinnamon Sugar
Baked Ziti with Lamb
Lemon Angel Pie
Pasta with Cabbage, Bacon and Tomato
Pappardelle with Pancetta, Tomatoes and Cream
Adapted from well known chef April Bloomfield’s latest book “A Girl and Her Greens”, today’s recipe puts savoy cabbage center stage. It’s not your usual stuffed cabbage with ground meat and rice, rather the stuffing is sauteed cabbage along with carrots, onions and bacon. Savoy cabbage is a milder and somewhat sweeter variety of cabbage. Combined with bacon and Parmesan this cabbage roll is packed with flavor. You could certainly omit the bacon for a vegetarian version, but it lends a nice smokiness to the dish.
I had some of the filling leftover so I spooned it over top of the rolls before popping it in the oven. Serve with a salad and some crusty bread for a simple wintry supper.
Cabbage Stuffed Cabbage Rolls
½ stick unsalted butter, plus more for greasing pan
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
5 ounces thick-cut smoked bacon, cut into ¼-inch cubes (about 1 cup)
¼ pound carrots, cut into ¼-inch cubes
1 medium yellow onion, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
2½ teaspoons flaky sea salt, plus more for garnish
2 Savoy cabbages (about 1½ pounds each)
1 cup chicken stock
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 ounces Parmesan cheese, finely grated, plus more for garnish
Lemon wedge, for squeezing
Melt butter and oil in a wide, heavy lidded pot over medium heat. Add bacon, carrots, onions and 1½ teaspoons sea salt to pot. Cover and cook, without stirring, until bacon looks a bit translucent, 5–7 minutes. Stir and continue cooking, covered and stirring occasionally, until onions are very soft but not brown, about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, remove and discard outermost leaves of cabbages. Carefully remove 12 large leaves and set aside. Halve, core and thinly slice remaining cabbage, setting aside 10 cups chopped cabbage. Reserve any extra cabbage for another use.
Add chicken stock to pot with onions, increase heat and bring liquid to a boil. Once boiling, stir in sliced cabbage and 1 teaspoon sea salt. Cover pot, reduce heat to medium, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until cabbage is tender but not mushy, about 7 minutes. Remove pot from heat.
Bring a medium pot of water to a boil over high heat. Season water generously with kosher salt. Working in 2-3 batches, boil reserved cabbage leaves until soft enough to fold without breaking, 3-4 minutes per batch. Use tongs to remove from water, drain well, let cool and pat dry.
Assemble stuffed cabbage: Heat broiler. Generously butter a large, heavy baking dish. Place boiled leaves on a work surface, concave-side up. Stir cabbage-onion mixture, then use a slotted spoon to portion mixture evenly among leaves, leaving a ½-inch border. Reserve cooking liquid for basting. Sprinkle Parmesan over bacon mixture. Roll each leaf over the filling to form a fairly snug cylinder with open ends, then transfer, seam-side down, to baking dish.
Place baking dish under broiler and cook cabbage rolls, basting occasionally with reserved cooking liquid, until lightly browned on top and heated through, 3–5 minutes.
To serve, garnish rolls with Parmesan, sea salt and pepper to taste. Finish with a drizzle of olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice.