Introduction: Greek Cabbage Rolls
This recipe is great not as much for the filling but to learn how to make leaves from cabbage that you can roll anything in, for a fun yummy "pocket."
I must add that making this was particularly thrilling as I used many ingredients either grown by friends or whose source I knew of, including the meat. It was a slow food to make with a Slow Food credo.
Step 1: Mix Filling
Note - what you put in the filling is entirely up to you. I started with a vegetarian recipe from About.com and turned it into a meat recipe.
The meat cooks as you boil the rolls so you mix the uncooked rice and uncooked meat together.
1 lb raw ground beef and/or lamb
1.5 cups uncooked rice (I used brown basmati)
1 red onion, chopped
1 large or 2 small tomatoes, chopped
1/2 zucchini, chopped
1 T fresh or dry mint
Have on hand:
Step 2: Make Cabbage Leaves
Here's the fun part.
Boil a pot of water
Cut a chunk of cabbage core out. You'll be needing to get the leaves off so you can cut them off individually but easier if you have a big piece missing.
Stick a fork in the core.
Let the cabbage boil for a few minutes
Pull it up with the fork and try peeling an outer leaf off. It should be fairly easy.
Cut the hard "bone" part of the core off. That's good to eat or use some other way.
Put the cabbage back in and keep doing this as each layer gets soft. TOTALLY FUN.
Step 3: Make the Rolls
The large leaves are the easiest to roll.
Don't worry that it will seem like your rolls may fall apart since even if they do you can ladle out the stuff and it will be delicious.
Put a few tablespoons of filling in one end of a leaf and try to fold in the sides as you roll it up. You want it to come out like a burrito ideally. If it's too full just take out some of the filling.
Make them tight but leave enough space for the rice to expand (these aren't sushi after all).
Lay the pockets into the pot, with the seam sides down.
FOR UGLY LEAVES - you can line the bottom of the pot.
Pour some olive oil into the bottom (well I poured it on top of the pockets after). Oil is just good!
Step 4: Cook the Rolls
You can make as many layers of rolls as needed, fitting them fairly tightly together.
Fill the pot with water above the rolls, so that the rice and meet will cook.
Put a plate on top to weigh them down so they don't float and fall apart.
Turn heat on high to boil then to medium / low so the rice and meat have time to cook.
It will take about 1/2 hour or 40 minutes if you use brown rice.
You know when they're ready when the rice is done. The meat will be done at that time too.
Step 5: Enjoy
Eat your creation, squeezing lemon juice + salt and pepper to taste.
THEY'RE HEALTHY AND ADDICTIVE!