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Lamb-and-Feta Stuffed Cabbage


Serves 8

Yields about 30 rolls

  • by from Fine Cooking
    Issue 115

These stuffed cabbage rolls (known as lahanodolmades in Greece) are slow-simmered in a slightly sweet, ouzo-infused tomato sauce. Use only short-grain rice in the filling; long-grain rice takes too long to soften.

  • 1 large head green cabbage (about 3 lb.), outer leaves discarded, cored
  • 1 lb. ground lamb
  • 1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 large egg
  • 4 oz. (1 cup) crumbled feta
  • 1/2 cup short-grain rice, such as Arborio
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 Tbs. finely chopped fresh oregano
  • 1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. fennel seeds, crushed
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 15-oz. can crushed tomatoes (about 2 cups)
  • 1 cup lower-salt chicken broth
  • 1/3 cup ouzo or sambuca

Fill a tall, 8-quart (or larger) pot with enough water to submerge the whole cabbage and bring to a boil over high heat. Boil the cabbage until the outer leaves are bright green and start to pull away, about 4 minutes. Carefully pull them off with tongs and lay them on a baking sheet lined with a kitchen towel. Continue boiling the cabbage and removing its leaves in layers as they soften until the entire cabbage is cooked, 15 to 20 minutes total. Let cool.

In a large bowl, use your hands to combine the lamb, onion, egg, feta, rice, parsley, oregano, lemon juice, cumin, fennel, 2-1/2 tsp. salt, and 1ƒ tsp. pepper.

With a paring knife, remove the hard ribs from the cabbage leaves. Cut the larger leaves in half lengthwise.

 Coat the bottom of an 8- to 9-quart Dutch oven with the olive oil. Arrange several cabbage leaves on a work surface so they run lengthwise away from you. Working with one leaf, put about 1-1/2 Tbs. of the lamb mixture on the end closest to you. Fold the long sides in toward the lamb, and then roll away from you to enclose the meat. Put the roll in the pot, seam side down. Repeat with the remaining cabbage and filling, arranging the rolls in a snug single layer (if necessary, add a loosely packed second layer).

Combine the tomatoes, broth, and ouzo in a medium bowl and pour the mixture over the rolls. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce to a gentle simmer, cover, and cook, shaking the pot occasionally so the rolls don’t stick, until the rice in the filling is completely tender, 60ƒ to 90 minutes.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 390, Fat (kcal): 19, Fat Calories (g): 170, Saturated Fat (g): 7, Protein (g): 18, Monounsaturated Fat (g): 9, Carbohydrates (mg): 33, Polyunsaturated Fat (mg): 1.5, Sodium (g): 670, Cholesterol (g): 75, Fiber (g): 6,

Photo: Scott Phillips

Excellent! I followed the recipe exactly and almost didn't as I didn't have any of the liquor and the only bottle the store had was a large but am soooo glad that I went ahead and purchased it as it made the dish and I will be making this again.

Very good. I tried it tonight, since it is more a cool weather dinner. We added mashed potatoes and a salad with ranch dressing. I liked it a lot - only the sauce is rather thin - next time I will do a little less or will finish it in the oven. (uncovered) or I will ask my Mom, how to incorporate flour to thicken it. Since 'Kohlrouladen' are my favorite dish since childhood, yes I am German, it is a little different but very tasty.

This is an amazing recipe. I followed the recipe to a T, and the results were delicious. As dinner started, all you could hear was mmmmmmmmm. Loved it! It definitely will become a regular at our house.

I've made these now several times, a great basic recipe. The first time I followed the recipe exactly. Fantastic. Since then, I've taken some liberty. I've reduced the rice and added lentils. And added sumac, dried mint, dried dill, extra cumin and a handful of currants. And I've left out the lamb for a vegetarian version. Both versions are excellent.

Delicious! One tip I can give is freeze your head of cabbage a few days before you make this then thaw overnight. The leaves are perfectly pliable with no boiling needed. Just peal them off and make your rolls. Even my 15 month old liked this!

I'd have given this recipe 6 stars. Absolutely delicious. The recipe didn't specify what variety of canned tomatoes to use so I chose red pepper and fennel. There was no need to freeze the leftovers because we took them for lunch and then finished them off for a second dinner. Next time, I will triple the recipe and freeze for later. Frugal hint: Make cabbage soup with the left over cabbage. I found a recipe for Ww 0 Point Weight Watchers Cabbage Soup that complimented these cabbage rolls perfectly.

I agree that coring and then pulling the leaves off the cabbage were rather difficult and time consuming: however, the end results were really delicious and worth the effort. I halved the recipe and used 2 tbs filling per leaf and it made 11 rolls which just covered the bottom of the pot. I did make the full amount of sauce though which was a good decision because it was very tasty!

This was fabulous...and I forgot the ouzo. Darn, now I need to make it again. My husband will be thrilled. I did bake it in a casserole dish in the oven at 350 for an hour and 15 minutes, part of the time covered instead of cooking it on the stove. Less pot tending.

I followed this recipe exactly and it was delicious. Do not leave out the ouzo (a liquor) - it really gives it a nice, somewhat authentic flavor. A couple of things, though. First, it is not an easy task to core a 3 lb. head of cabbage (how do you even do that safely?), boil it, and take the leaves off with tongs as it rolls around in the boiling water. There has got to be an easier way! Also, this does not make 30 cabbage rolls. Maybe 15. The leaves toward the center of the cabbage are too small to use for rolls. I used more like 2-2.5 tablespoons of filling per roll rather than 1.5, which seemed sparse. But overall, great recipe with great flavor.

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