Friday, May 11, 2012

I JUST…made Mediterranean Couscous Cabbage Rolls

Since I’ve been trying to eat better (read: more whole foods and less processed foods) I have come across a lot of recipes, some a I like some I don’t and some I have loved into heavy rotation. This is going to be one of the heavy rotation ones. It is light and easy to make – two things that go very well with a lunch or light dinner before a run. To start off with, make the couscous. Add the couscous to the boiling water, remove from the heat and let sit until you are ready to use it – at least 15 minutes. The most challenging part of the whole recipe is the cabbage leaves themselves. I didn’t have any Savoy cabbage so I got a head of regular green cabbage. Peeling the leaves apart is the biggest hurdle – the heads are tight and tricky to tease apart (think Aqua Net and the movie Grease).
After I had 8 leaves (as whole as possible), I started a pot of boiling water and boiled a couple at a time for about 8 minutes – until they were tender. Some people don’t trim the spines of the leaves, but I do because it makes rolling them easier. Just take a knife and slice the main rib flush with the whole leaf. After each batch was done, I placed them on a paper towel to drain and cool. While that was happening, I made the filling. I took the cooked couscous and dumped it into a bowl with the chopped mint and feta, using my hands to mix it since the couscous was clumped together and the feta needed to be broken up a bit more. Leave the cheese alone if you like the bigger chunks.
After the filling was done and while the cabbage leaves were still cooling, I made the sauce the rolls simmered in. Since it isn’t quite tomato season yet, I used a 29oz can of diced tomatoes and left out any salt in the recipe. In a large skillet, I sautéed the garlic for about 30 seconds, then added the tomatoes, vinegar, sugar and cinnamon. I stirred it all together and let it simmer for about 30 minutes. While that was going, I made my cabbage rolls. Taking a cabbage leaf and laying it rib-side down, I put a spoonful of the filling in the center and rolled the leaf up like a burrito: roll up once, then fold in the sides and roll the rest up. Voila! Cabbage Roll. I rolled the rest of the leaves and filling, trying not to break any.
When they were all rolled the sauce had simmered a while, I nestled the rolls in the sauce, covered and simmered for another 30 minutes. Serving size is 2 rolls and some sauce. The longer you cook them in the boiling water or the sauce (or both), the more tender the leaves will be – I am going to boil them longer, it was a pain to eat them with a knife and fork in a small Tupperware at my desk. Enjoy!
Recipe is under the Recipe Tab above

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