Baked Stuffed Cabbage Leaves Recipe

Baked Stuffed Cabbage Leaves Recipe

This is the perfect time of year to enjoy fresh greens at their seasonal best, and there are plenty of delicious ways to make the most of their vitamin-packed goodness. In this recipe, the crinkly leaves of the Savoy Cabbage are the star turn, filled with a tasty stuffing and baked in a rich tomato sauce. Serves 4.

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LOW FOOD MILES

Our Savoy Cabbages are grown less than five miles from Greendale Farm Shop. Mike, who has been farming for over 40 years, hand-picks the very best Savoy Cabbages for the Farm Shop shelves. With crinkly, dark green leaves and a robust, delicious flavour,  we think Savoy Cabbage is one of winter’s quiet culinary delights.

Ingredients

Savoy Cabbage, 8 whole large outer leaves from
Olive Oil
20g Unsalted Butter
4 Red Onions, peeled, trimmed and sliced thinly
3 cloves Garlic, peeled
Small bunch fresh Thyme, leaves only (set a few sprigs aside for the tomato sauce – see below – and a couple to use as a garnish)
125g Brown Basmati Rice
400g tin cooked Brown or Green Lentils
100ml hot Vegetable Stock
Sea Salt and freshly ground Black Pepper, to taste

For the tomato sauce:
Olive Oil
1 Red Onions, diced finely
2 cloves, Garlic peeled
2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp Tomato Purée
3-4 sprigs fresh Thyme, leaves only
Sea Salt and freshly ground Black Pepper, to taste

Method

First, cook your rice according to the packet instructions, then drain and set aside. While the rice cooks, you can also get on with making the tomato sauce: add a good splash of the olive oil to a large saucepan and place over a medium heat. When the oil is hot, lower the heat slightly and add the diced onion, cooking it gently for about 10 minutes or until just softened. Crush in the garlic cloves and the thyme leaves and cook, stirring, for another minute or so, then tip in the tinned tomatoes, half-filling one of the tins with water and adding that too, along with the tomato purée. Increase the heat under the pan, and let it simmer for 25-30 minutes, stirring every so often, until the sauce as reduced and thickened. Take the pan off the heat and season to your taste with salt and pepper.

To make the stuffing, add another generous splash of olive oil to a large frying pan and place it over a medium heat. Put the sliced onions into the pan, lower the heat a little and cook them for 10-15 minutes, stirring regularly, until they have softened and started to colour. Crush the garlic into the pan and stir in the thyme leaves, cooking for 2 more minutes. Tip the pan contents on to a plate and set aside, but keep the pan handy. To prepare the cabbage leaves, put about 6cm of water in a large saucepan, put it on a medium-high heat and bring it up to a simmer. Sit a colander or steamer basket over the water, then put the lid on the pan and let the leaves steam for 5 minutes until softened. Remove the leaves and set them aside until cool enough to handle, then carefully remove the thickest part of the stem by cutting a v-shaped notch at the base of each leaf.

Next, take the pan you used to fry the onion and put it back on a medium heat, adding the butter. Drain the lentils, and when the butter has melted put the lentils into the pan, along with the cooked, drained rice. Stir well, then pour in the hot stock and cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has reduced enough to give a workable stuffing mix. Tip the plate of cooked onions into the pan and stir well, then season to your taste with salt and pepper and remove from the heat.

To assemble, first preheat the oven to 180°C (Gas Mark 4) and have a large, deep serving dish ready (big enough to hold the eight stuffed leaves and their sauce. Place the cabbage leaves flat on a work surface, then divide the stuffing mix into eight, and put one portion along the central rib of each leaf, leaving about 3cm uncovered at the top and bottom. Working one leaf at a time, fold the top and bottom over the filling, then pull one side of the leaf across to cover them. Roll the little parcel over on to the remaining side section of leaf, tucking the leaf under, then lift the parcel into a large serving dish with the seam-side down. Repeat with the remaining cabbage leaves. Next, pour the sauce over the cabbage parcels, then scatter the remaining thyme sprigs across the top. Cover the dish loosely with foil and put in the hot oven to bake for 10 minutes, then serve straight away.

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