The art of cooking with vegetables
How does a mother lure her family all together? The answer is simple, she makes great tasting Greek comfort food! Lahanodolmades, pronounced (LA-ha-no-dol-ma-thes) a.k.a Stuffed White Cabbage Rolls is one such food and not to mention it’s a great make-ahead dish. Lahano means cabbage, Dolma originates from the word Dolmak, which means to be stuffed, therefore, the word lahanodolamdes. or as we know them Cabbage Rolls.This is one of our favorite Greek comfort food.
The original dolmades are stuffed vine leaves, with only rice and herbs which you eat as a meze, (appetizer)
Stuffed vegetables with meat have been very popular in the Mediterranean and middle eastern cuisines for many centuries. Lahanodolmades are served with a sauce called avgolemono (this is how most Greeks serve them) The avgolemono adds a zesty flavor to the lahanodolamdes. We don’t eat the avgolemono sauce so I eliminate the egg from my recipe, so I will provide you with an alternate sauce. Also, some people serve them with a simple red sauce but I prefer mine with a white lemon sauce.
Lahanodolmade’s main ingredients are minced meat and rice. If you’re a vegetarian you can substitute soya minced meat or just vegetables with plenty of herbs. This is the art fof cooking with vegetables.
My lahanodolmades are a bit different than the original recipe. I had the honor to meet with a chef who goes by the name of “YIannis” he had a successful food business. After a long conversation, I unveiled to him that I’m a food blogger, he was so delighted and showed such a huge interest in what I do that he gave me a mini-seminar right there on the spot. We also exchanged ideas and various food experiences. I told him about my latest post lahanodolmades and he gave me 3 secrets that he used, I immediately used his secrets, the result was superb. I will be revealing two of out of the three secrets.
Lahanodolamdes are a bit time consuming but very simple to make and worth every minute of your time. Remember you can also make more and freeze them for later use.
The lemon and egg sauce is made separately. The ingredients are so simple that you are able to find them at your local supermarket.
I have experimented with this recipe more than once.This post is my final version and the one I use for home or parties.
- 1 large head of green cabbage
- 250 grams pork minced meat you can use on type of minced meat if you like
- 250 grams beef minced meat
- 5 strips chopped bacon you can omit this
- 3 big garlic cloves
- 2 fresh chopped sprigs of onion
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
- 2 tablespoons chopped dill
- 1 shredded carrot
- 80 grams olive oil
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 cube beef knorr
- *3 whole eggs
- * 3 – 4 lemons ( for lemon juice)
- *3 tablepsoons of crumbled feta
- 3 – 4 whole eggs
- 1 beef knorr cube
- 150 -200 grams rice
In order to soften the leaves for rolling. Take a knife and cut around the stem, leaving a hole in the center of the cabbage
Place cabbage in a pot cover with water and boil for about 15 minutes or until leaves are soft and you are able to easily remove the leaves. When done remove the leaves from the cabbage, allow them to rest on a flat plate to cool down until you have made your stuffing.
Take your bacon, garlic cloves, fresh onions, parsley, and dill place them in a pot add your olive oil and saute for about 15 minutes, set aside.
Mix the uncooked minced meat, bacon, and rice together add the sauteed herbs to this mix. Also, add oregano salt & pepper to taste OR (This is what I do)
When I have sauteed the herbs, I add the minced meat in the pot along with the rice, oregano, salt & pepper to taste, I saute for another 10 minutes, I cover with just enough water and I allow to boil until it has simmered enough. Set aside until you prepare your cabbage leaves.
* Add your feta cheese to the mixture, I usually use 3 tablespoons you can always adjust the amount.
OR you can saute all the herbs together set aside, mix your uncooked minced meat with your uncooked rice and then add your herbs (some people do it this way, I prefer to cook them a bit as directed above.) Once you have mixed all your ingredients together, you take your cabbage leaf as shown in the picture. Lay it on a flat surface and remove the stem from the middle, reattach your leaves together add your mixture, and roll. On your first roll make a complete roll then, fold the ends and roll till the end. Not too tight because the rice will expand when it boils, this is why I like to cook it beforehand.
Once you have finished with all your rolls, take your leftover leaves and place them on the bottom of the pan(this is a chef tip) also if you like you can also add pancetta slices on top of the cabbage leaves ( another chef tip) trust me it will be heavenly!
Now, layer all your rolls in the pot in a circular pattern, when done cover with a plate (so they can stay in place.) I also like to add some shredded carrots as they boil. Add water from the cabbage that you boiled, or stock, make sure the water covers the plate cook on high heat, when it has reached the boiling point, lower the heat and continue to cook for about 30 -45 min. When done drain the broth and keep one cup for your avgolemono sauce. Allow for the lahanodolmades to cool down.
Now, the avgolemono sauce
*Squeeze your lemons, you will need about 1/2 and cup of lemon juice, so the amount of lemons you use depends on the juice they have. Set aside. Beat your eggs, slowly add your broth as you beat the eggs when finished with the broth add the lemon. If you like your sauce to be thicker add a bit of cornstarch.
*Eggs, use according to how much sauce you would like to make.
My alternate sauce
Take the broth, pour it in a pot add 1 cube knorr add spices and boil for about 5 minutes, then I add the lemon juice and a little bit of cornstarch about a 1 tablespoon and I stir it in until it thickens a bit. When my sauce is done I pour it in the pot with the lahanodolamades. They are ready to serve, pair them with a nice white wine. KALE OREXI!!!