I feel like I blinked and Thanksgiving was over. How was your holiday? Did you host, go out or share in the cooking? Was it a quiet Thanksgiving or did banter and family drama ensue?
We went out for Thanksgiving.
I figure for all the time prepping and cleaning coupled with the few opportunities of an extended period of time off from work, why not take a break?
And so we did.
We went to a little farm-to-table restaurant that served up the most delicious Thanksgiving menu I’ve ever experienced. The traditional turkey and stuffing was served, but for the veggie option they made the most mouth-watering pierogis stuffed with kale, onions, mushroom, herbs and a bit of cheese. A shallow broth cradled these little packages along with wild mushrooms, carrots, parsnips and herbs. Of course there was a generous serving of pan-fried brussels sprouts, mashed potatoes, gravy and homemade sourdough.
Have you ever had a pierogi?
I hadn’t until Thanksgiving. They’re little semi-circular dumplings filled with a sweet or savory stuffing, boiled, then pan-fried to impart a bit of a golden color and texture. They’re traditionally made for holiday celebrations.
I had never heard of them, but was excited to try something new.
For dessert… oh my.
Bourbon Fig Ice Cream served with a smear of spiced pumpkin puree and a beignet!! Need I say more? Looks like I have my work cut out for me.
It was those little pierogis and a rather large head of cabbage from the farm that inspired this recipe. I love the idea of little packages of deliciousness that when cut into, they reveal the most flavorful of stuffings. BBQ Black Eyed Pea Collard Rolls is another example of my love affair. It’s one of my earliest posts. Can you tell?
The stuffing is a mix of crimini and porcini mushrooms with French lentils, long grain brown rice and bread crumbs. It’s incredibly hearty, filling and so nourishing.
I think the leftovers tasted even better.
I asked a few weeks ago about holiday recipes. You spoke, and I listened. Recipes for the holiday season are on tap starting next week! I can’t wait to share with you!
- 3 lbs (1.4kg) Head of Green Cabbage
- 1 oz (28g) Dried Porcini Mushrooms
- 1/4 C (51g) Long Grain Brown Rice
- 1/4 C (50g) French or Green Lentils
- 1 tsp Sea Salt, divided
- 1 Bay Leaf
- 2 Tbs Olive Oil
- 3/4 lb (346g) Crimini Mushrooms, stems removed and sliced thick
- 1/2 C (46g) Shallot, minced
- 1/2 C (40g) Panko Bread Crumbs
- 1 Tbs Tomato Paste, divided
- 1 Fist Full of Fresh Thyme, divided
- 1 Can (272g) Diced Tomatoes
- Reserved Mushroom Soaking Liquid
- 3-4 Tbs Dry White Wine + Vegetable Broth, as needed
- Ground Black Pepper
- Bring a large stock pot, large enough to hold a head of cabbage, of water to a boil. Add the whole head of cabbage and simmer for 9 minutes turning it over once 1/2 way through cooking since it will float. Drain and set in a colander to cool. When cool enough to handle, gently remove the leaves attempting to keep them in tact as much as possible. You'll want to try and obtain at least 10, large in tact leaves for rolling. The torn leaves can be used to line the baking dish and eat for lunch the next day.
- Place the porcini in a bowl. Scoop out 2 C (472g) of that very hot water for the cabbage and pour over the porcini mushroom, put a lid over them and rehydrate 30 minutes. Strain, reserving the soaking liquid. Squeeze out as much soaking liquid from the mushrooms as possible. Rough chop the mushrooms and set aside.
- In a small sauce pot bring 1 1/2 C (454g) of water to a boil. Add 1/4 tsp salt, bay-leaf, lentils and rice. Turn heat to low, put a lid on the pot and cook for about 40 minutes, or until rice and lentils are tender. The lentils will cook faster than the rice, but this is okay for our application.
- In a nonstick saute pan add two Tbs of olive oil, heat until shimmering then add all the mushrooms. Give them a good stir then let them cook for about 2 minutes at a time before stirring again. We want to get a good sear on the mushrooms. Cook for about 13-14 minutes. Add the shallots about 3 minutes before the mushrooms are done.
- In a food processor, add the mushroom mixture, bread crumbs, 1 tsp of tomato paste, 1/2 tsp salt and fresh thyme leaves from about 7 stems. Pulse about 4 times, scrape down bowl and pulse again a few more times so that mixture comes together but is not pasty.
- When lentils and rice are done, scoop the mushroom mixture into the saucepot the rice and lentils were cooked in (space permitting). Add about 1/2 tsp of ground black pepper. Stir well to combine and taste for seasoning adjustment. Set aside.
- Wipe out the mushroom saute pan and pour in the reserved mushroom broth. Simmer on medium for about 2 minutes. The broth will begin to slightly thicken. Stir in the remaining tomato paste until dissolved. Add 1/4 tsp of salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Stir in the diced tomatoes and cook on low for about 2-3 minutes. Set aside.
- Preheat oven to 350F (180C).
- Lightly spray a casserole dish with pan spray.
- Line the dish with 3-4 cabbage leaves, or enough to cover the bottom and most of the sides. If the leaves hang over the edges, this is okay. To lay them flat you may need to cut a notch a the base of each stem.
- Scoop about 1/4 C (40g) of the mushroom mixture and place it near the base of the cabbage leaf. Gently fold in the sides and start rolling, tucking in the sides as needed. Place in baking dish, seam side down, on top of the leaves. Repeat, adjusting the amount of filling as needed for smaller leaves, until all the filling is used. The rolls can be crowded, just not overlapping. If you run out of room, start another baking dish and line as with the first baking dish.
- Pour the sauce over and around the top of the rolls. The sauce should come just up the sides of the rolls, not submerged. Drizzle the white wine over the top and if needed, add a bit of vegetable broth.
- Give the rolls a good few grinds of black pepper and a pinch of salt. Lay 5-6 sprigs of fresh thyme across the top.
- Bake, uncovered for 45-50 minutes until the tops are a bit golden with some a little crispy. Remove from oven and let set for five minutes before serving.
- Store in lidded container in fridge for up to two days.
Inspired by A Polish Country House Kitchen