Tonight's dinner was a throw-back to food that we grew up on; stuffed cabbage. I had a green cabbage in my CSA basket and found a recipe using ground turkey as the meat component for the filling. I also made a simple tomato sauce to put in the bottom of the casserole as well as covering the stuffed cabbage rolls while baking in the oven.
I felt that this was an updated recipe from the bland rolls we grew up with. I would definitely make these again.
Stuffed Cabbage Rolls
Adapted from a Mario Batali recipe
1 large head green cabbage
1 package ground turkey meat
1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs, plus 1/2 cup, toasted
1/2 medium red onion, finely chopped
10 sage leaves, finely chopped
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
2 cups basic tomato sauce, recipe follows
Basic Tomato Sauce
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 Spanish onion, chopped in 1/4-inch dice
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon dried thyme leaves
1/2 of a medium carrot, finely shredded
2 28-ounce cans whole peeled tomatoes, crushed by hand and juices reserved
Salt to taste
Start with the tomato sauce:
In a 3-quart saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until soft and light golden brown, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add the thyme and carrot and cook 5 minutes more, until the carrot is quite soft. Add the tomatoes and juice and bring to a boil, stirring often. Lower the heat and simmer for 30 minutes until as thick as hot cereal. Season with salt and serve. This sauce holds 1 week in the refrigerator or up to 6 months in the freezer.
Meanwhile preheat the oven to 375 degrees and bring 6 quarts of water to a boil in a large stockpot with 2 tablespoons of salt.
Remove whole leaves from the cabbage to yield 14 large leaves and plunge into the boiling water. Cook until soft enough to fold, about 4 to 5 minutes. Drain and rinse with cool water and lay out on clean kitchen towels to continue cooling.
Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl, place the ground turkey, 1/2 cup bread crumbs, 1/2 cup parsley, red onion, sage, salt and pepper and eggs and mix well with hands. Lay out the cabbage leaves on a cutting board and place a medium-sized handful of the turkey mixture in the lower center of each leaf. Fold the lateral sides inward and roll from the base to form a closed pocket out of each stuffed leaf. In an ovenproof casserole large enough to hold all the cabbage rolls, place half the tomato sauce. Lay the cabbage rolls atop the sauce. Spoon the remaining sauce over and bake 1 hour. Remove and sprinkle with the remaining 1/2-cup bread crumbs, and 1/4 cup parsley.