Monday, 31 October 2011

Bringing cabbage back

Golubtsi (Russian Stuff Peppers and Cabbage)

This is my last Russian food recipe for now. My wonderful grandma is going back to live with my brother for another year before she visits again. She misses him madly when she visits here, and my parents and I madly when she's with with him. Anyway, from grandma with love, I give you golubtsi.

I love that I can pretend I'm eating healthy when I'm eating them. They are wrapped in cabbage and peppers right? And cooked in a tomato sauce? I spent a weekend with my grandma relaxing and cooking, and this was our main event. Everyone was so excited- especially my dad. 

When I was little, I refused to eat peppers. So my mom used to cook golubtsi, because they had the gorgeous tomatoey sauce, meat and sour cream (what DON'T we eat with sour cream?), and she would feed them to me, with a teeny tiny bite of pepper in every bite. When I eat these I remember those times- how awesome was it that she would create these tiny perfect bites for me? I LOVE my mom.

Tiny Grandma

2 1/2 cups beef mince
2 1/2 cups pork mince
2 1/2 onions, liquidised
1/2 - 3/4 cup long grain rice, cooked until just fluffy, but not done
1 cup fresh cleaned parley
2 cups fresh cleaned coriander
salt and pepper

1 head of cabbage
5 small peppers

125g tomato paste

1) First, prepare the mince. Mix the beef mince, pork mince, onions, and rice together. Chop up herbs and mix them in. Add salt and pepper. Now is the icky bit. You kind of have to taste it. I KNOW!! But just do it, and then you will probably need to add some salt as the mince has to be oversalted.
2) Now you need to prepare the veggies. Cut holes in the tops of the peppers, and clean them through the holes. For the cabbage, remove the leaves as carefully as possible to try to keep them whole. If they do tear, it's not a tragedy! What you will need to do is boil the cabbage leaves to soften them, then put them in a colander to cool enough for you to touch them.
3) Now, take a large soup pan, and put some oil at the bottom. 
4) The bottom layer will be made of cabbage. Take a leaf, and begin by cutting out the hard bit. Then cut the cabbage leaf into strips roughly 4 cm in width. You should have roughly 3 - 4 strips per leaf.
5) You can now start to wrap the mince in the strips of cabbage kindof like we did the strawberry pancakes. Don't worry if it's a bit messy- they don't need to be perfect. Layer them in circles at the bottom of the pot.
6) The next layer will contain the peppers. They are super easy to stuff. Layer them in circles on their sides on top of the cabbage.
7) Top up the rest of the pot with more cabbage wrapped mince.
8) Now, dissolve the tomato paste in approximately 500 ml of hot water, and pour into the pot, it should reach the top, but top it up if it doesn't.
9) Now, put the pot on a medium-high heat until it boils, then put it down to medium- low, cover and let it boil for approximately 3 hours. The main point is to make sure that the peppers have cooked through and are soft.
10) Serve with sour cream, and pretend you're eating a salad.

This is one of the foods that my dad phones about and threatens me to stay away from. Don't worry- I'm fully capable of fighting him for them!

PS. I created a facebook page, so I can post the recipes I make, and ones I wish I'd made.

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