Aunt Mary’s stuffed cabbage rolls

February 18, 2016
My Aunt Mary – who if she is reading this will curse me because she is not much older than me and hates being called “Aunty” – makes the best egg-lemon sauces in the entire universe. She is a great cook anyway, but this is her speciality.

Suffice it to say that many, many years ago, for a plate of stuffed cabbage rolls I cut short a date with a super hot and very famous actor I was seeing at the time. I had shown from an early age where I stood when it came to matters of the palate.

This particular recipe is neither very simple nor very easy but every once in a while it’s worth making that extra effort to prepare a dish that family and friends will remember for years. So, let’s get to it...



Aunt Mary’s stuffed cabbage rolls

Ingredients

  • 1 medium-size cabbage (explain to the grocer that you want to make stuffed cabbage rolls so that he chooses one without too many veins)
  • 250 gr minced beef
  • 250 gr minced pork
  • 1 small piece of lamb (preferably from the shoulder)
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 egg
  • A little olive oil
  • 3 more eggs
  • 2 lemons (juice and zest)
  • 1 cup white medium grain rice
  • Plenty of dill and parsley, finely chopped
  • Salt and pepper

Preparation

Parboil the cabbage in a large pan, cut off the base and thick pieces and carefully remove the leaves. Sear the lamb with a little oil, add enough water to cover the meat and boil until a little juice is left. Knead the minced beef and pork in a deep bowl with the onion, 1 egg, parsley, dill, salt, pepper and a dash of olive oil. Place the cabbage stems on the bottom of a large pan to prevent the rolls from sticking, then place about 1 tbsp of the mince mixture in each cabbage leaf before closing them well to make sure the stuffing doesn’t spill out when boiling. Pack the rolls closely together in rows in the large pan, add a little oil along with the juice from the lamb and cover with an upturned plate. Boil on medium heat for 45-60 minutes, taking care to add water if necessary while bearing in mind that only a little juice should remain at the end of cooking.

 When the rolls are ready, mix the two eggs with the juice and zest of the two lemons, remove the pan from the heat and pour a small amount of the cabbage roll juice into the egg-lemon mixture, stirring continuously to prevent the egg from clumping. After adding nearly all the juice in this manner, pour the mixture back into the pan, tilting and gently shaking the pan so it spreads evenly over all the rolls. Do not stir with a spoon, otherwise the rolls will break up. The secret to making a good egg-lemon sauce is the ratio of broth to the eggs and lemon. The idea is to acquire a nice thick sauce without using corn flour or other thickeners. Serve the stuffed cabbage rolls hot, perhaps accompanying them with the braised lamb, but it might be an even better idea to eat the lamb the next day with spicy mustard. If you do try this recipe, I wish you the best of luck and please let me know how it turned out. 

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