Blog-checking lines: Our October 2010 hostess, Lori of Lori’s Lipsmacking Goodness, has challenged The Daring Cooks to stuff grape leaves. Lori chose a recipe from Aromas of Aleppo and a recipe from The New Book of Middle Eastern Food.
I wasn't very thrilled when I heard that this month's Daring Cook's Challenge was to stuff grape leaves. I've done it once before and it didn't turn out very well. In fact it was a disaster that I refused to post about. Once I read that we could substitute grape leaves with cabbage, I became much more interested.
Cabbage leaves are much easier to work with for me, and much easier to find (the last time I saw grape leaves was over a year ago). We also were given the choice of making the filling however we wanted as long as it included rice.
Hot Sausage Stuffed Red Cabbage leaves
- 6 cups cooked brown rice
- 1 package of frozen chopped spinach (about 300g)
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 hot sausages (125gs each)
- 1/2 cup Rogan Josh cooking sauce (the spices in the kind I used include cardamom, cinnamon, clove, ginger, cumin, aniseed, saffron, fennel, red chillies, garlic and ghee)
- Red cabbage
Defrost the spinach, drain of excess water and add to a large bowl with rice and chopped onion.
Remove the caseing from the sausages, breaking the meat up into bits and adding to the rice mixture. Add in the Rogan Josh seasoning/sauce. I would also add in a couple of pinches of salt at this point (I forgot to add some to mine and it would have brought the flavors together better).
Using your hands mix all the ingredients together so they are evenly distributed.
Grab a large pot of boiling water, big enough to submerge most of the cabbage head. Allow it to boil for a couple of minutes or long enough that the first couple of leaves are easy to remove. Place the cabbage back into the boiling water, this will soften the next layers while you stuff and roll the first ones.
Lay the leaves out so that they curve upwards like a bowl. Place a good amount of filling on the leaf, but make sure there is enough room on edges to fold them inwards without filling being squeezed out!
When folding, make sure the filling is in a rectangle shape and horizontal with the stem of the cabbage leaf. The stem should be pointing at you. Fold the stem up to cover the filling once, then fold the sides in. Next, roll up to reach the end of the leaf.
Place in a casserole dish with the open side down. Repeat until you have all your leaves filled and rolled.
Pour about 1/2 inch of water into the casserole dish and cover with aluminum foil. Place an oven at 350F and allow to cook about 1 hour.
I added a bit of extra sauce on top to give a bit more flavor (thanks to me forgetting the salt :\). The cabbage leaves turned out tender and I enjoyed the subtle flavor of them with the spiciness of the sauce and sausage. The hubby said his cabbage was a bit strong, but loved the filling. Even the kiddo ate this one with out complaint! I'd definitely do this again as it was a great hit with everyone :).