Tuesday, April 26

Cabbage Rolls on Sweet Yam and Carrot Bed

Those who know me, know that I love cabbage and the many ways it can make meals so visually appealing. You can stuff a whole head, make individual rolls, or, enjoy a heart-warming soup -- it's always good, and good for you. I don't know what happened but, when my sister brought home some garden-fresh sweet fingerling yams and I saw that cabbage in the fridge, it was Katie-bar-the door time in my kitchen. Never expected this to become one of those jaw-dropping delicious meals that stay in your mind for days. The flavors danced on the tongue -- sweet, tart, piquant, vibrant -- pop! pop! pop! -- each one taking its own moment. Each item retained its own texture. Hands down; a keeper! When you pop over to this week's It's a Keeper Project, don't forget to check out all the other great linkys.

I'm going to give you the tips, first, so that preparation will be much easier, should you decide to try it. 
  1. Reserve 1 Tablespoon each from chopped yams and carrots and finely chop for rice mixture.
  2. Rinse rice thoroughly under cool water.  You want to remove the starch from the rice so that it isn't mushy-textured, like poi or risottos. Cook until almost tender, approx. 12 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  3. Discard dark green outer cabbage leaves. Use the next 8 whole leaves by removing carefully from cabbage head. Do not steam. Lightly score back side of hard stem section at base of leaf to help it curl into shape.
  4. Cut eight pieces of very fine cheesecloth (or double pieces of open-mesh cheesecloth) into 8"x8" squares and have eight pieces of string or rubber bands nearby. This mixture will grow and needs the expansion room available with cheesecloth, unlike tightly wound stuffed cabbage rolls.
  5. Because there are so many ingredients, this is a good time for a mise en place.
  6. Preheat solar oven. (Conventional oven 325F)
Sweet Yam and Carrot Bed
2 green onions, bulbs sliced and greens chopped
1 medium sweet onion, chopped
6 yams, peeled, sliced, and quartered
2 medium carrots, thinly shaved (use peeler), then, crosscut
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
2 leaves cabbage, finely chopped
1 Tablespoon fresh ginger, finely chopped
2 Tablespoons olive oil
14.5 oz chicken stock + water to cover vegetables
1 Tablespoon rice vinegar
1 Tablespoon Hoisin sauce
1 Tsp soy sauce

In large skillet over medium heat, soften green and sweet onions in olive oil. Stir in yams and carrots and cook until starting to soften; add celery, cabbage and ginger, stir into mixture and cook for 2 minutes. Add chicken stock, water, rice vinegar, hoisin and soy sauces. Bring liquid to just under boil, lower heat and simmer till liquid is just clearing vegetables. You're going to need that liquid for the cabbage rolls. 

Mix following ingredients in a separate bowl. Combine flour, corn starch, salt and pepper together, first, to evenly distribute before adding to mixture. Blend thoroughly before add eggs, cooked rice, and jam.

Rice Filling
1 Tablespoon yams finely chopped
1 Tablespoon carrots, finely chopped
1 Tablespoon canned mushrooms, finely chopped
1 teaspoon finely chopped onion
1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon corn starch
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 eggs, beaten
2 cups sushi rice, partially cooked, or other short-grained rice
1 Tablespoon fig/raspberry jam (or, light brown sugar)

 Mixture looks very wet and that is as it should be, as it will expand in the cabbage roll. 

On flat surface, place one cabbage leaf on one cheesecloth square. Center 1/3 cup of rice mixture on cabbage leaf and gently fold leaf over mixture to conceal mixture. Bring up corners and centers of cheesecloth, twist once, and then secure with string or rubber band. Continue with rest of cabbage leaves.

 Pour contents of skillet in roasting pan and add cabbage packages
Cover and bake in solar oven for approximately 1-1/2 to 2 hours, or until all liquid is absorbed and rolls have fully expanded. Scoop vegetables onto plate. Place cabbage roll next to vegetables, remove rubber band, and gently remove cheesecloth, turning cabbage roll over to have seam side down. (Check to make sure your will is up-to-date.) Wouldn't this be great for company?


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