Monday, December 17, 2012

Cabbage Rolls with Buckwheat and Mushrooms

Cabbage rolls (Golabki) are one of the most popular and well-known Polish dishes. The classic version of cabbage rolls stuffed with ground pork and sometimes served in tomato sauce was a dish you could find on most every Polish menu.

But over the years, as more and more people became vegetarian and others switched to a more healthy food, also the traditional cabbage rolls went through many makeovers. Instead of the basic green cabbage, other cabbage varieties like savoy or even red became used and rolls started to be stuffed with different ingredients that you could find in Polish cuisine, such as different types of kashas.

My favorite version of vegetarian cabbage rolls is the one made of savoy cabbage, stuffed with a buckwheat and mushroom filling. Buckwheat, as a gluten-free grain, became very popular in recent years in many different cuisines and became widely available in most American stores. Buckwheat has more taste than other kashas and therefore it replaces successfully the meat that is used in the traditional cabbage rolls. The addition of mushrooms to the filling enriches the taste of buckwheat. White mushrooms are used in this recipe but if you have dried porcini, they can be added to the sauce for extra aroma.

Cabbage Rolls with Buckwheat and Mushrooms
(Makes about 16 rolls)

1 medium savoy cabbage,
2 cups buckwheat,
1 large onion,
2 large eggs,
1/2 lb white cup mushrooms, or half a cup dried porcini, soaked and cooked for 10 minutes,
1 stick of butter plus extra 2 tbsp,
1/2 tsp ground caraway seeds,
1/2 tsp coriander seeds,
1/2 tsp paprika,
1/2 tsp ground mustard seeds,
1 tsp dried marjoram,
salt and ground black pepper,

1. Peel off the outer leaves from the cabbage and cut out the stem.
2. Put the whole cabbage in a pot of boiling water (the pot must be large enough to fit in the whole cabbage). Bring water to boil again and cook the cabbage for about 3 minutes on a medium heat. Turn off the heat and let the cabbage stay in the pot to blanch.
3. Drain the cabbage on a colander and peel off gradually all the leaves trying to keep them whole.
4. To make stuffing, cook buckwheat according to instruction. Let it cool down and place it in a large bowl.
5. Melt about 2 tbsp of butter in a frying pan. Add chopped onion. When onion is translucent, add white mushrooms grated on a large whole grater. Fry until mushrooms release water and become slightly gold. Add mushrooms and onions to the bowl with the buckwheat.
6. Beat two whole eggs and add them to the buckwheat filling. Season generously with salt and pepper and add the remaining spices: paprika, caraway, coriander, mustard and marjoram.
7. Working with hand mix all the ingredients into a smooth stuffing.
8. Place cabbage leaves on a cutting board. Put about about 1/4 cup of stuffing on one end of the leave, fold in the sides and roll the leaves up. If, at the end, you have some leaves left, you can wrap some of the rolls in a second layer.

9. Preheat oven to 375F.
10. Place the rolls on a heavy duty backing dish, tightly, next to one another.

11.If you have dried porcini, scatter them around the rolls (to make sure they are soft enough, soak them in water and pre-cook a little). Cut the remaining butter into small cubes and put them on top and between the rolls. Add a cup of water to the bottom of the dish and cover the dish with the aluminum foil. 12.Bake rolls for about 40 minutes. Remove the foil and let the rolls become gold, which will take another 10-15 minutes.
Serve warm with a tomato salad.