Lamb Stuffed Cabbage Leaves With Tomato Sauce

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Lamb Stuffed Cabbage Leaves With Tomato Sauce

Lamb cooked to tender perfection and wrapped in a cabbage leaf served in a tomato sauce is a dish we tried in Gordes, a small exceedingly picturesque mountain village in Provence. Start with prepping Savoy cabbage leaves by blanching and then shocking them in ice cold water to preserve that emerald green color. Shred the heart of the cabbage finely and set it aside to use later as the base for sauce, nothing goes to waste. French lamb that graze at the base of Mount Ventoux in Provence have a strong pronounced flavor that some may find a bit overpowering, so  instead  I used the American mild flavored ground lamb which I mixed with finely diced sautéed zucchini and onion. Form a sizable ball of stuffing from the mixture and place it in the middle of the cabbage leaf, carefully enclose the leaf and set it aside. Proceed with the rest of the stuffing carefully selecting the biggest cabbage leaves. Whip up a quick tomato based sauce; add the shredded cabbage and cook the lamb seam side down in the Dutch oven for 30 minutes or so. When serving, scoop some of the delicious sauce into the each plate first and top it with perfectly cooked lamb stuffed in a cabbage leaf. This dish was received incredibly well by our friends and became an instant hit. The flavor of the lamb came through in a subtle wave with each bite, the sensation further heightened by the unique juxtapositions of textures of crunchy cabbage, diced vegetable and gently yielding lamb. You have to try it!

Peel away 4-6 large leaves to reveal the light yellow heart of the cabbage.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Blanch large cabbage leaves in the boiling water for 1 minute. Carefully remove the leaves from the water with a slotted spoon and transfer to a bowl with iced water.

Drain and pet dry the leaves with a paper towel. Cut the cabbage  heart in half and shred finely, set aside.

Finely chop zucchini.

Finely chop red onion.

Put 1 tablespoons of the olive oil in a non-stick pan over medium-high heat; when hot, add half of the chopped onion and cook for 2-3 minutes, until translucent but not browned. Add minced garlic clove, cook for another minute. Transfer to a bowl.

Pour another tablespoon of oil and add zucchini to the pan. Season with salt, pepper and oregano; cook until soft for about 3 minutes.

Transfer sauteed zucchini to a bowl along with the lamb and onion. Season the mixture with salt and pepper, mix until just combined. Kitchen tip: Make a small patty and sear it in the pan to check the seasoning, adjust if needed.

Lay one leaf at a time on the cutting board; remove the thickest part of the vein in the center of the cabbage with a sharp knife.

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To close the gap, slightly overlap both halves of the leaf. Put two tablespoons full of the lamb mixture in the center of the leaf.

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Fold the leaf around the filling.

Repeat with the remaining leaves and filling.

Put 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat, add the rest of chopped onions and cook for 2-3 minutes until translucent but not browned. Add another chopped garlic clove and cook for another minute. Add shredded cabbage and sauté for another 2 minutes. Pour half of the tomatoes, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Add the cabbage rolls, seam side down, to the pot of sauce. Pour the rest of the sauce. Add thyme and bay leave. Cover with a lid and cook over medium-low heat for 30 minutes. Kitchen tip: to add some richness to the dish, add 2 full tablespoons of lamb mixture to the broth. Sprinkle with parsley.

To serve, place some of the cabbage and the broth in the middle of each plate and top with the lamb stuffed cabbage. Serve immediately.

Bon Appétit!
Svitlana

Lamb Stuffed Cabbage Leaves With Tomato Sauce

recipe details

Serves 6-8 

Ingredients

For the stuffing

  • 1 pound ground lamb
  • 1 large head Savoy cabbage
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 medium zucchini, finely diced
  • 1 garlic clove, finely minced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ teaspoons dry oregano
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the broth

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • 1 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 2 tablespoons parsley
  • 1 bay leave
  • 3 thyme sprigs
  • One 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions

     

  1.  Peel away 4-6 large leaves to reveal the light yellow heart of the cabbage. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Blanch cabbage leaves in boiling water for 1 minute. Carefully remove the leaves from the water with a slotted spoon and transfer to a bowl with iced water. Drain and pet dry with a towel. Cut the leftover cabbage heart in half and shred only one half finely, set aside.

  2.  Put 1 tablespoons of the olive oil in a non-stick pan over medium-high heat; when hot, add half of the chopped onion and cook for 2-3 minutes, until translucent but not browned. Add minced garlic clove, cook for another minute. Transfer to a bowl. Pour another tablespoon of oil and add zucchini to the pan. Season with salt, pepper and oregano; sauté until soft for about 3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl along with the lamb and onion. Season the mixture with salt and pepper, mix until just combined. Kitchen tip: Make a small patty and sear it in the pan to check the seasoning, adjust if needed.

  3. On the cutting board, using a sharp knife remove the thickest part of the cabbage vein right in the center.  To close the gap, slightly overlap both halves of the leaf. Put two tablespoons full of the lamb mixture in the center of the leaf and fold the leaf around it. Repeat with the remaining leaves and filling.

  4.  Put 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat, add the rest of chopped onions and cook for 2-3 minutes until translucent but not browned. Add another chopped garlic clove and cook for another minute. Add shredded cabbage and sauté for another 2 minutes. Pour half of the tomatoes, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

  5.  Add the cabbage rolls, seam side down, to the pot of sauce. Pour the rest of the sauce. Add thyme and bay leave. Cover with a lid and cook over medium-low heat for 30 minutes.

    Kitchen tip: to add some richness to the dish, add 2 full tablespoons of lamb mixture to the broth. Sprinkle with parsley.

  6. To serve, place lamb stuffed cabbage leaves in the middle of each plate, then pour some broth with cooked vegetables around it. Serve immediately!

     

     

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