> Lemon and Strawberries: Cabbage rolls with mushrooms & gravy - Polish Christmas food #4

Friday, December 18, 2015

Cabbage rolls with mushrooms & gravy - Polish Christmas food #4

Continuation of my Polish Christmas preparation! Today "gołąbki" - cabbage rolls! You might have tried traditional cabbage rolls (or made lazy version of them). Usually they're filled with rice, minced meat and onion. This particular type is a meatless version - the one we serve on Christmas Eve in Poland. They're stuffed with mushrooms and rice or buckwheat. Plus, there is a mushroom gravy and hey, who doesn't love gravy?
These cabbage rolls are great not only as part of Christmas dinner, but also as an alternative if you're a vegetarian or you just want to try something different!

INGREDIENTS (for about 10-12 pieces):
  • 1 cabbage
  • 1 big onion
  • 2-3 handful dried mushrooms (boletus)
  • OR 250g fresh mushrooms
  • 2 glasses rice or buckwheat
  • marjoram
  • salt & pepper
  • oil for frying 
  • 500ml - 1l water or broth (enough to cover cabbage rolls in a pot)
  • 2-3 tbs flour
  • 1-2 tbs butter
Let's start with the filling, as it has to cool down before we'll be wrapping our cabbage rolls. 
If you're using dried mushrooms - soak them in clean water overnight day before. Next day cook them in the same water with a little bit of salt. Drain them, but keep the liquid and set aside to cool down. Preheat a pan with a little bit of oil and add finely chopped onion. Fry for about 5 minutes. Cut your mushrooms in little pieces and add to onion. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and marjoram and fry for another 5-10 minutes. 

If you're using fresh mushrooms - cut them in little pieces, no need to precook them. While frying onion, add them to a pan. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and marjoram. Mushrooms will let out some of the juice, so fry everything on a medium heat until most of the liquid evaporates.

This time I didn't find buckwheat in any store, so I decided to go with rice. Cook rice using 3-4 glasses of water for 2 glasses of rice. The proportions are similar if you're using buckwheat - basically it needs to soak up all of the water to be ready!

Mix your mushrooms & onion with rice, add salt, pepper and extra marjoram if needed and your stuffing is ready!

Now let's prepare cabbage leaves for our rolls. Boil a big pot of water. Cut out the middle part of cabbage. Put cabbage in the pot and little by little take off  blanched leaves. The whole process is done to soften up cabbage leaves so they won't break when rolled, not to actually cook them - it takes really few minutes for every few leaves you're taking off. 
When you've got enough - about 10-12 leaves, let them cool down - they're really hot and it's easy to get burned. Then cut out the hard nerve at the bottom of each leaf - to make it easier to fold.

Alright, we're ready to make cabbage rolls! Place a cabbage leaf flat, put 2-3 tablespoons of filling at the center and close to the bottom (step 1.). Then fold both sides as shown in the picture (step 2.). Next, fold the bottom of a leaf (step 3.) and roll it tightly (step 4.). 

When you've got all of your cabbage rolls ready, put them in a big pot - make sure to place them tightly close to each other to prevent them from opening. It's also good idea to put them in such a way, that the "ending" of a leaf is on the bottom, so it won't unfold.
If you're afraid that they might get burned, place few extra cabbage leaves at the bottom of your pot, before you start placing cabbage rolls there.
Pour water or broth (I've used mushroom broth) - just enough to cover your cabbage rolls and cook on medium heat for about 40 minutes or until cabbage is soft - you may check it with a fork. 

Remember that liquid we had from cooking mushrooms? That's a base for our gravy. 
Preheat a pan with a little bit of butter. Add flour and fry for 2-3 minutes - until slightly golden.
Heat up your gravy base. Put few spoons of it in a little bowl and mix it with flour. This way we're preventing it from making lumps. Pour flour and liquid mixture into the rest of your base and mix it all together to combine well. Keep on medium heat for few minutes or until it thickens.

Serve cabbage rolls warm, topped with the gravy. They're also great next day, reheated on a pan - the cabbage will get a little bit crunchy, which makes it super delicious!

Bon appetite!

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