Sunday, 25 August 2013

Cabbage Rolls with Tomato Sauce

Wow - our garden is a swamp!! And we live at the top of the hill, so I can only imagine the chaos going on in the drainage at the bottom of the hill! What a massive downpour today - the kids thought it was very exciting though and really enjoyed playing out on the deck (it's covered) with the rain thundering down.

There was a lovely break in the rain during the middle of the day when we managed to venture out to the playground at Point Chevalier - it's a great playground, with a good range of activities for different ages. The other bonus is that it currently comes with a healthy serving of mud! Both of the girls managed to end up completely caked in mud, and had to go home starkers which they of course thought was hilarious!

Tonight for dinner I really wanted to use up some very limp looking cabbage that has been hiding in our second fridge for a while. Cabbage is one of those ingredients that I love the idea of, but struggle to think of ideas for how to use it other than in stir-fries.

I had seen a recipe a long time ago for cabbage rolls (I think they are a very popular dish in parts of eastern Europe, Poland is ringing a bell?), and it was in the back of my mind as something that would either work really well or the whole family would think I'd gone mad! With the limp cabbage in the fridge, and the vague thought of using it in a roll, I ventured into the kitchen to see what I could come up with.

Thankfully, I managed to put something together that didn't just get eaten, it got devoured! The kids loved it, hubby went back for a big helping of seconds, and it has now been added to the list of favorites - yay! Oddly enough the kids didn't seem to even notice that they were eating cabbage, as it was kind of more like a giant tomato sauce covered spring roll.

 All rolled up and ready to go in the oven


The final product served and ready to dig in

Cabbage Rolls with Tomato Sauce 


Cabbage Rolls:

500g Pork Mince (or mince of your choice if you don't like pork, but it does work well with the cabbage)
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated
2 carrots, grated
8-10 button mushrooms, roughly chopped into pieces approx 1cmx1cm
1 tsp ground paprika
2 tbsp tomato paste
1/8 cup red wine
1 tsp thyme, dried or fresh
1 cup cooked brown rice
1 tbsp coconut oil, or cooking oil of your choice
8 cabbage leaves (I used Savoy Cabbage, but you can use any variety)

Tomato Sauce:

400g jar of tomato passata, or tinned tomatoes
1tsp apple cider vinegar
1 handful fresh basil, roughly chopped
¼ cup water or stock (chicken or vegetable)
1 tsp honey (optional)

  1.     Preheat oven to 180C
  2.     Heat a saucepan of water over medium heat. Blanch cabbage leaves for approx 5 minutes until soft. Rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process. Squeeze the leaves to get the excess water out, and place to one side.
  3.     In a saucepan or frying pan, heat coconut oil over a medium heat. Cook onions and garlic until soft and aromatic. Add the pork mince and cook for around 5 minutes until no longer pink.
  4.     Add the mushrooms and grated carrot. Cook for a few minutes until mushrooms are starting to soften.
  5.     Add paprika, tomato paste, thyme, red wine and rice and cook until rice is heated through. Season with salt and pepper.
  6.     In a ovenproof baking dish, lay one of your cabbage leaves down and put a scoop of the pork mince on top (the size of your scoop will depend on the size of your leaf). Roll the cabbage around the meat. Repeat the process until all of your cabbage leaves are in the baking dish. You can make the rolls on a chopping board or plate and then transfer them to the baking dish, but I found it easier just to make them in the dish to save having to transfer them which can be a messy process.
  7.     In a small saucepan, place all the ingredients for the tomato sauce. Heat gently, then pour the sauce over the cabbage rolls.
  8.     Cook the rolls in the oven for approx 30 minutes

Serve with baked potatoes, kale chips, and roasted pumpkin.