Potatoes to the rescue

The potato has been my year-round friend, saving me from slumps in cooking energy and ideas. So it didn’t surprise me that potatoes came to mind for stuffing these cabbage rolls. But consider using this versatile mashed-potato mixture to fill peppers, dumplings, rice-paper rollups, and tacos or to accompany your breakfast eggs instead of country potatoes.

Cabbage rolls stuffed with mashed potatoes

To separate individual whole leaves from a cabbage, core the cabbage and microwave or steam the whole head for a few minutes to soften it, testing each minute to see if you can peel off the leaves. Then quickly blanch or microwave the leaves to soften them just enough so they bend instead of break or tear when you fill and roll them. If you don’t have leeks and fruit vinegar, replace with chopped onions and balsamic vinegar. Serve the rolls plain or topped with hummus, hot sauce, or salsa, if you like.

  • yellow potatoes, cut into quarters
  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • leeks, sliced into half-rounds
  • sweet peppers, cut into 1/2″ dice
  • mushrooms, sliced
  • fresh tomato, chopped
  • thyme
  • fennel seeds
  • parsley, chopped
  • chopped nuts, such as walnuts or almonds
  • sunflower seeds
  • fruit vinegar, such as fig
  • toasted sesame oil
  • tamari or soy sauce
  • Sriracha chili sauce
  • salt
  • pepper
  • large leaves from a green cabbage
  • stewed tomatoes, canned tomatoes, or tomato sauce
  1. Put the potatoes in a steamer basket over boiling water and steam, covered, until tender. Drain and pour potatoes into a large mixing bowl. Coarsely mash until no large lumps remain.
  2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a pan and cook leeks, peppers, and mushrooms over medium-high heat, covered, stirring occasionally, until brown bits form on the bottom of the pan and vegetables are soft. Add chopped tomato, thyme, fennel seeds, and parsley and stir, scraping up browned bits. Pour vegetable mixture into large bowl with potatoes and add nuts and seeds. Season to taste with vinegar, sesame oil, tamari, Sriracha, salt, and pepper.
  3. Heat oven to 375º. Spoon a scoop of filling into the bottom third of a cabbage leaf, fold over side edges, and roll up. Place each cabbage roll seam side down in a baking dish. Repeat until you have the number of rolls you want. Pour stewed tomatoes over the cabbage rolls, cover with foil, and bake until cabbage rolls are completely soft, about 1 hour.

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