Sunday, May 1, 2011

Lentil Golabki

By guest poster / collaborator : Mike

The City of Buffalo recently celebrated yet another Dyngus Day.  This Polish holiday follows Easter Sunday and there is normally a table full of delicious Polish foods to enjoy at our friends’ place for the festivities.  I have gotten in the habit of making pierogi the last few years but I figured this would be the year to try something else.  Although our friends have postponed their Dyngus Day party until their schedules are free, I’ve decided to try out another experiment before I bring it over for all to enjoy: Lentil Golabki.  Golabki are pretty much cabbage leaves stuffed with beef and rice, cooked in a tomato sauce.  They are always great but the meat can be a bit much sometimes.  Obviously, a perfect opportunity to try it with lentils!

Here are the ingredients:

1 large green cabbage
2 tbls unsalted butter
1 onion – chopped
1 garlic clove – minced
4/3 cups dry brown lentils (rinsed)
4 cups chicken stock
1 cup rice
1 green pepper – shredded
2 celery stalks – diced
4 cups tomato puree

First, bring a large pot of water to a boil.  While waiting for the water to boil, remove the core from the cabbage and dice/chop/shred vegetables.  I use a cheese shredder for the green pepper – it’s kind of awkward to shred the pepper like this but it really gets it to a perfect size.  Cook the one cup of rice in a separate, smaller pot in two cups of water (bring water to a boil, add rice, cover and simmer 20mins) and set aside when done.

When the large pot of water is boiling, lower to a medium-high heat and throw in the whole cabbage.  After a couple of minutes you should be able to start peeling away the cabbage leaves.  You won’t be able to remove all the leaves right away so you’ll have to keep coming back to the pot and peeling them away - I suggest using tongs while the cabbage remains in the hot water.  Pull as many leaves away as possible because you’ll want to make as many golabki as you can.  Cut off any excess stem from the leaf because those will be too tough to eat.  Don’t discard the cabbage water - you’ll need some later.  

In another pot, brown the onions in the butter with some salt and pepper (1/2 tsp of each) and add the garlic.  After cooking the garlic for a couple minutes, add the chicken stock and lentils and bring to a boil.  Lower the heat on the lentils and cover and cook for 20mins.  After 20mins, remove the cover, turn up the heat and let the lentils reduce a bit - otherwise the filling will be too wet.  When the lentils have reduced, remove a cup and blend in blender and return the blended portion to the rest of the lentils, or use an immersion blender to blend about a cups worth.

In a large mixing bowl, add the rice, celery, green pepper and the lentils.   Line the bottom of a Dutch Oven with some of the cabbage leaves.  With the remaining cabbage leaves, spoon about 1/3 cup of the lentil filling into a cabbage leaf and roll it from stem to tip, pinching in the sides to keep filling from coming out.  Place each roll into the lined Dutch Oven, keeping them close together and place additional ones on top if necessary.  In a separate mixing bowl, mix two cups of the cabbage water with the tomato puree and pour it over the stuffed leaves.  Place the Dutch Oven on the stove and bring the cabbage-tomato puree to a boil.  Reduce to a simmer and cover the pot, cover for an hour or when the cabbage is tender. 

I served it with some sour cream but Martha discovered if you mix some dill with the sour cream, it’s even more delicious.  I’m thinking of adding carrots but any other additions or suggestions are welcome too!

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