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Kukla's Kouzina: A Gourmet Journey ~ Greek Island Style: Meze
lahanoDolmades - cabbage patch
In Greece, the best cabbage is picked after the first frost, making it the perfect winter meal. Lahanodolmades are rolled in a similar manner as the grape leaves above but the cabbage requires a little more prep before rolling. Here’s the best way to do it.
- Gabbage leaves
- Ground lamb or beef (or a combination of both)
- Olive Oil
1. First, use light green cabbage (left), not Savoy (right). Though Savoy is prettier, it doesn’t cook up as buttery as the more common green variety, and buttery-tender makes these beauties rock!
2. Core the cabbage and discard the outer leaves (a). Place the cabbage, cored side down, in a large pot (b) and fill with enough cold water to cover. Bring to a boil and continue to boil until the leaves are bright green and can be easily separated—this should take about 10 to 15 minutes after the water comes to a boil. Drain and rinse the cabbage under cold water, then drain well and let cool. When cool enough to handle, carefully separate the leaves without tearing them, salt each leaf, and stack on your work surface (c)—set aside and reserve any torn or very small leaves to line the bottom of your pot. Let the leaves cool completely.
TIP: This would be a good time to make your filling.
3. Line a large stockpot with a layer of the reserved torn or small leaves. Working with one leaf at a time, place the leaf, vein side up and cored end facing you, on your work surface.
If necessary, cut into the leaf’s stem (in a V shape) to remove any remaining thick spine. This will make them easier to roll and easier to eat once they’re cooked.
Place about 1 tablespoon of filling at the tip of the V and fold over the leaf to cover the filling (a). Fold in the sides (b) and continue to roll to the end of the leaf (c). For the leaves that are a little too small, you can overlap two to form a larger leaf before filling. You can also patch up any tears this way. Place the roll, seam side down (d), in your prepared pot.
COOK IT RIGHT!
As you fill the pot, make sure the dolmades are placed neatly and snuggly against each other in each layer so they don’t move while cooking.
When the pot is full, follow your recipe for the amount of broth and any flavorings to add.
Cover the top of the dolmades with an inverted heatproof shallow bowl. The bowl should be small enough to not touch the sides of the pot but large enough that it covers the dolmades. The bowl will keep the dolmades in place while cooking, and will ensure that they cook properly.
Follow your recipe for the remaining cooking directions.
Lahanodolmades are served hot, topped with Avgolemono sauce, or plain with juices from the pot and lemon.
For the perfect presentation, it's best to arrange the rolls on individual serving plates and then top them with the sauce (don't drown them!). Feel free to garnish with lemon slices, dill, chives, or parsley to add color to your creation. Add a Greek salad and a glass of red Erythros (Ερυθρός) wine to complete the meal!