Italian cabbage dumplings

Cabbage dumplings are a polish tradition. You take a large, heavy cabbage, boil the hell out of it so it's finally soft, then you cut out some more hard, woody parts from the leaves, then you cool it, then you make the meat mixture, then you roll it, cook it again, make the sauce, and FINALY, EAT IT.
It take so long that most polish women don't make them anymore, leaving this to their grandmas or mothers, or mother-in-law to make it in their spare time when they come over. But they are good.
The problem is with the cabbage. AE came up with the delicate italian version, using, italian cabbage.
It's really pretty, you basicaly do the same, but it does take less time, and mind/hand cramping effort. You don't need to be a superhero with this one, just remember, that the wrapping meat part is the most delicate thing to do. Wrap it too tight, and it'll fall apart. Wrap it not enough, it'll fall apart. They always fall apart if you don't do them good, man. But they still taste good. Man.
Anyway, this is a weekend recipe for all you fellow people who start cooking at 11 pm because they finally feel like it:) Just cook the cabbage during the day.

dumplings, cabbage, italian, figs, rosemary

Ok, let's kill the cabbage.
Type of dish: main
Cost: cheap
Difficulty: medium
Serves: 4-6
Time: 90 min
Preparation time: 60 min
Cooking time: 30 min

You'll need: 
cutting board, sharp knife, large bowl, spatula, tablespoon, slotted spoon, large, deep saucepan, toothpicks or those fancy silicon ties, colander a fork

  • 1 meidum sized italian cabbage ( the very wrinkly kind)
  • 1/2 kg ground pork
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs or 1 small crusty old, dried out bun
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 tbsp ground pepper
  • optional: 1/2 tsp curry powder
  • 1 cube vegetable stock
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

Take your cabbage and lay it down, so you see the stalk part. Take a sharp knife and try to cut it out, as much as possible. Place the cabbage in the saucepan, stalk part down, and cover with water. Put a lid on it and put on stove with high heat. Once it boils, turn it down to medium low heat and leave the lid on. Tip: If your water is bubbling over the edge, means you used a too small pan. Cook this way for 30 min.
In the meantime, prepare your meat filling. In the bowl, mix the ground meat, spices, milk, oil and bread/crumbs until it looks like a ugly pink paste. Done? Cover up and put it aside. You'll have more important things to do, than look at ugly meat pastes.
Your cabbage is cooked, the time is right, pour out the water, , put the cabbage in the colander and pour cold water over it to chill it down. Let's call this, "chillax time". For the cabbage. Unfortunatly.
Okay, cabbage chilled down, put the cabbage on the cutting board and have fun. start peeling off the leaves, trying to keep them in one piece. The first leaves, if they shred, don't worry, you won't be using them. The middle and tiny leaves are what we're going for.
 You should have at least 12 leaves intact, pure, cooked and whole. Check them to see if the stems are very stiff and thick. If they are, then using a knife of veggie peeler, gently cut it off, like slither it off.
Don't cut it out completly.
Now, clean your saucepan or get a smaller one, but wide. on the bottom, place the biggest leaves from the cabbage. The frist ones that shreded. Now, take a middle leaf, a spoon of the meat paste, ans put the blob of meat on the bottom of the leaf, where the stem is. Next, start gently byt firmly rolling it upwards, tucking in the sides, so you form a dumpling. Pin the top together with a toothpick or two, or use the ties, and put in the pot. Repeat with the rest and set aside. Now pour in water to cover the dumplings and add the stock cube. Put on medium heat with a lid on and cook for about 25-30 min.

After that time, remove them from the water with a slotted spoon and serve.

Btw, best served with a easy fast tomato sauce made from: 3-4 tbsp tomatoe paste, lemon juice, 1 tsp sugar, S&P, 2 cups water, some 18% cream and mix it well in a small saucepan. Warm it, mix it, pour it over the dumplings. Add a blob of fresh cream for that extra oompf:)

Additional info:
You can add some leftover rice to the meat mixture to enrish it a bit, and you can freeze these babies for more future use.

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