We have a new thing on Thursdays in our busy household. We commit to cooking together and enjoying a sit-down meal with one another. This last Thursday we made these cabbage rolls. It ended up being an impressive meal primarily pulled together by our son who navigates the world with just one functioning hand. Rolling cabbage around a beef, onion and rice mixture, tucking in the edges and getting them seam down in the pan without them falling apart is a feat. Doing it one-handed is pure skill and amazing to watch. We made two versions; a traditional Turkish cabbage roll with lamb and a rich cinnamon, sumac spiced tomato sauce and then we made this version because we had curry coconut carrot soup and I wanted to see how this would turn out. I often talk about reinventing soups or stretching your soup dollars into a completely different meal. Using soups as a sauce is a brilliant way to make this recipe. These cabbage rolls were crazy good. If you don’t have a soup on hand that you’d like to use, I’ve provided this Curry Coconut Carrot Soup recipe. It’s easy.
The cabbage rolls come together rather quickly and are the perfect match for a side of basmati with roasted vegetables or a chunky marinated winter vegetable salad with croutons. If you have any left over, they’re even better the next day!
- 1 Large green cabbage
For Curry Coconut Carrot Soup (in this case, the sauce!)
- 5 lbs organic carrots, cut into 2-3″ lengths
- 1/4 C coconut oil, plus another 1/4 cup for soup
- 1 T kosher salt, plus more for seasoning soup
- 2 medium white onions, diced (appoximately 1-1/2 cups)
- 2 shallots, diced (appoximately 1/2 cup)
- 6 cloves of fresh garlic, minced
- 2 (6-8″) long garlic roots, finely shredded (appoximately 1/3 cup)
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 T toasted cumin, ground
- 1 tsp toasted coriander, ground
- 1 Qrt organic vegetable stock
- 1 T fresh lime juice
- 2 C full fat coconut milk
- 5 kaffir leaves (optional) Also called lime leaves. You can find fresh or dried leaves at Asian markets
- 1 tsp Kosher salt (or more as needed)
Preheat oven to 425. On a parchment lined sheet pan, add chopped carrots. Toss in olive oil and salt. Roast for 30 minutes until fork tender and slightly caramelized.
In a medium stock pot, on medium heat, add 1/4 cup coconut oil, chopped onion and shallots and cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add in garlic and ginger and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Add in cinnamon, cumin, coriander, and vegetable stock. Stir and add in lime juice. Cook for a minute or so. Turn down to low heat and cover. When carrots are done, add carrots to stock and blend with emersion blender until smooth. Add in coconut milk, kaffir leaves and salt. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes to infuse flavors of kaffir. If not using kaffir leaves, you are ready to go!
Your soup should be slightly thick and creamy, not too thin. If it appears too thin, you can add a couple of tablespoons of a thickening agent, like almond flour or cornstarch. Remove kaffir leaves first, so you can use emersion blender to blend in thickening agent.
While carrots are roasting, you can prepare your cabbage leaves and begin making soup. In a large stock pot on high heat, fill half way with water and a few tablespoons of salt. Bring to a boil and add whole cabbage to blanch. Turn down heat to medium high and blanch cabbage for 12 minutes. Remove and cool on rack until cool enough to remove leaves. Carefully remove leaves and drain in colander until ready to assemble stuffed leaves.
FOR THE LAMB / BEEF BASMATI FILLING
- 1/2 C Curry Coconut Carrot Soup
- 1/2 lb ground grass-fed lamb (you can go with all lamb or all beef or a combination of both)
- 1/2 lb ground grass-fed beef
- 1 cup cooked basmati rice (white or brown)
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 2 tsp coriander, ground
- 2 tsp toasted cumin, ground
- 1 tsp sumac
- 1 tsp fresh lemon zest
- 2 T fresh organic mint, chopped (or organic cilantro, chopped)
- 2 T fresh organic parsley, chopped
- 1/2 C pinenuts, toasted (or toasted chopped walnuts or toasted chopped almonds)
- 1/4 cup dried apricots, chopped (or currants or raisins)
- 1-2 tsp Kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp dried chili flakes (optional)
In a large mixing bowl, add all ingredients and incorporate well. Next step, assembly.
FOR CABBAGE ROLL ASSEMBLY
In a baking dish, add 1 cup of Curry Coconut Carrot Soup and spread to the edges. On a sheet pan or platter, lay down one blanched cabbage leaf. Cut out about 2-3″ of the thick stem of the leaf. Scoop 1/3 cup meat mixture onto center of leaf and shape into a tube. Bring one side up and over meat and then the other side. Tuck in ends like you would a burrito and lay seam side down in baking dish. Repeat, placing cabbage rolls snuggly into baking dish. You should get approximately 12 cabbage rolls. Once filled, pour 2 cups of Curry Coconut Carrot Soup over the cabbage rolls. Cover with foil and bake for 1 hour, 15 minutes.
GARNISHES & SIDES
Garnish with toasted pine nuts, chopped herbs, and caramelized shallots. We served with sides of Greek yogurt with lemon zest and cracked black pepper, sautéed garlicky spinach and season basmati rice. We even had a little soup left over.