Recently my husband requested Cabbage Rolls with Feta and ground beef; I couldn’t find a good recipe, so I came up with this. It’s a wee bit of work, but well worth the time! You could mix up the components the day before if you wanted, to save time on the day. It’s worthy of being a guest menu, especially when served with a robust red wine. As a side dish you could serve green beans or another steamed vegetable.
500 gr. ground beef
1-2 packages Feta cheese, diced
cumin, salt, pepper to taste
1 onion, chopped
5-6 fresh mushrooms, sliced
2-3 C. rice, boiled
Saute the onions and mushrooms, adding the meat and browning. Spice to taste, then toss in the Feta to melt into the mixture. Set aside to cool, stirring in the rice whenever it is ready.
1 head Savoy Cabbage
You can prepare the cabbage one of two ways: Either blanch the entire head in a large pot of boiling water, or do as I did: Carefully separate the individual leaves, wash them, and “shave” down the thick spines to make them more flexible once softened. Quickly microwave the leaves in batches (30 seconds to 1 minute on full power); this will make them pliable to roll. Let them cool down a bit before handling.
250 gr. Grated cheese of your choice (Parmesan, Gruyére, etc.) to sprinkle on top just before baking
~1/2 – 1 C. Bread crumbs to sprinkle on top for an extra crunch (optional)
This next recipe is a basic white sauce; you can either use this or your own recipe, or mix up a batch of Make-Ahead Sauce.
BECHAMEL SAUCE (White Sauce)
6 Tbs. Butter
8 Tbs. Flour
4 C. (1 L) milk
Salt & white pepper to taste
Melt the butter in a saucepan over moderate heat. Stir in the flour & cook for 3 to 5 minutes, until it has lost the floury aroma. Do not allow to brown. Add the milk gradually, stirring to dissolve any lumps that have formed. Heat, stirring frequently, until the sauce boils & becomes thick. Spice to taste.
Taking each leave, spoon in a bit of the meat mixture in the centre and roll the leave around it, laying the leaf seam-side down in a casserole dish. Repeat until the casserole dish is full; any leftover meat can either be saved for a later meal or spread out atop the cabbage rolls. Pour in the prepared White Sauce, and then top with the grated cheese. Place in a preheated oven at 200°C (400°F) for ~45-60 minutes, or until the cheese / bread crumb topping browns nicely.
Serve with a dry red wine.