Around the Island

From Penelope's Kitchen: A winning take on a holiday favorite

PENELOPE MOORE PHOTO | Cabbage rolls ready for St. Patrick’s Day.

One of my favorite dishes for St Patricks Day is stuffed cabbage.

Years ago, I had a neighbor whose 7-year-old son would bring a platter of stuffed cabbage rolls to my door, with a big smile on his face. The sweet presentation and the cabbage rolls was an irresistible combination, and I would eat them in one sitting, then pray that they would bring more.

Ever since, I have been on a quest for the recipe of exactly the way they prepared them. There are literally hundreds of different recipes for stuffed cabbage.

Here’s one I’ve fashioned from several I’ve tried and it’s a winner.

Serves 6

Cabbage Rolls

2/3 cup water
1/3 cup white rice, uncooked
12 cabbage leaves plus more to line pan
1/2 lb ground beef
1/2 lb ground lamb
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons fresh thyme, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
16 ounces of canned plum tomatoes
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

In saucepan, bring water to boil, add rice. Stir, then cover and turn off heat and set aside.

Trim off the top layers of the cabbage and use the layers underneath. Cut the stem off. Bring lightly salted water to boil in large pot and add cabbage leaves, and cook for three minutes, then remove from pot and drain on paper towels or linen dishcloth. Reserve cabbage water for later.

In bowl, mix together the beef, lamb, rice, onion, garlic, egg, thyme, salt and pepper.

In saucepan, add tomato sauce, brown sugar, lemon juice and Worcestershire sauce. Bring to boil, then reduce to simmer.

Place meat mixture in center of each cabbage leaf, then wrap and roll leaf.

In large pan, line bottom with cabbage leaves, and cover with tomato sauce mixture. Place stuffed cabbage rolls, folded side down, on top. Pour rest of tomato sauce over rolls and bring to boil. Reduce heat to low and cook for 45 minutes, basting rolls every few minutes. If the sauce becomes too thick, use reserved cabbage water as needed.

Remove carefully from pan using wide spatula, then serve.