Recipe


Chicken Stuffed Cabbage with Raisin Tamarind Sauce

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

It's hard to explain, but one of my favorite things to do is stuff greens with meat and/or vegables and/or rice, and plenty of seasonings, bake it until the greens are papery and tender, and top it with a sauce. The greens can be anything from lettuce to collards, mustards, or even turnip, and the seasonings can be either savory, Mediterranean, Indian, or South-western. The meat can be ground lamb, beef, sausage, or poultry, and one may fill out the stuffing using rice or potatoes or any vegetable mixture.

This version is for when the only local greens in season are cold weather or storage greens, a.k.a. cabbage. The seasonings are fusion, with a Spice Road feel to them. Aside from the seasonings, the stuffing is just chicken, onion, and carrot.

Stuffed greens can be disappointing if not highly seasoned, because all greens are a little bitter and, once well-cooked, will not contribute a lot of flavor. (Mustards are an exception.) It is for this reason too that I like to make a sauce. Typically the sauce will be either tomato and/or chili pepper, or, as in this case, a sweet-spicy sauce with a dried-fruit base. I especially love to use tamarind. The spices, ginger, etc. used below, and especially the listed quantities, should be considered nothing more than very loose guidelines. Following your own flavor instincts is your best bet.

If you've never stuffed greens before, the trick is to blanch them just to the point that they can be rolled snugly without breaking. Too cooked, and they'll tend to fall apart. (So lettuce for example only blanches for a few seconds, collards for a couple minutes.) Don't be shy about flattening out the stem end with your palm to make it easier to roll. Put a blob of stuffing in the middle, fold the top down over it, fold in the sides, and then roll it towards you to complete the envelope. Stack them in a single layer in the baking dish, flap-side down.

If rice or potatoes are used, stuffed greens go well with a hearty vegetable. If the stuffing is meatless, they make an excellent side-dish. If, as here, the stuffing is just meat and vegetables, then it is best served with rice or quinoa. I recently served this alongside a quinoa pilaf made with lots of mushrooms, tomato sauce, some hot red pepper, and herbs. The pairing worked, somehow.

Chicken Stuffed Cabbage with Raisin Tamarind Sauce

3

whole

chicken thighs, boned and skinned

10

whole

cabbage leaves

1

whole

carrot, diced

1

whole

medium onion, diced

1/4

cup

raisins, seedless, chopped

1/2

cup

port

1/4

cup

tomato sauce

1

tbs

corn starch

3

whole

cloves

3

whole

cloves garlic

1/2

tbs

coriander seeds

1/2

tbs

ginger root, grated

1/4

tsp

cinnamon, ground

1/4

tsp

pepper corns

1

oz

goose grease

1

tsp

paprika, powdered

1

Season chicken thighs and fry them in goose grease or oil until well browned, set aside. When cool, chop into 1/4 inch dice.

2

Grind coriander, cloves, and peppercorns and add to pan with cinnamon and diced onion, and stir in high heat to release the aromatics. Add the ginger, garlic, chicken, and carrot, stir to blend. Remove from heat.

3

Blanch cabbage leaves one at a time in simmering water, trim the thick end, stuff each with a proportional amount of the meat mixture, roll into 3-inch burittos, and arrange in oiled baking dish. Top with paprika and streak with oil. Bake uncovered for 35-45 minutes in medium oven.

4

Meanwhile, boil chopped raisins in port until tender, adding water as needed. Add tamarind and tomato sauce, and simmer, stirring frequently. Thicken with cornstarch before serving. There should be about 1/3 cup per serving. (I like to stir in a little cayenne pepper sauce to give it character and balance the sweet.)

5

Serve cabbage rolls with sauce on the side. Serve with rice or quinoa pilaf.

Servings: 2

Yield: 10 rolls

Cooking Times

Preparation Time: 30 minutes

Cooking Time: 45 minutes

Oven Temperature: 350°F

Nutrition Facts

Serving size: 1/2 of a recipe (13.8 ounces).

Percent daily values based on the Reference Daily Intake (RDI) for a 2000 calorie diet.

Nutrition information calculated from recipe ingredients.

Amount Per Serving

Calories

353.74

Calories From Fat (43%)

153.41

% Daily Value

Total Fat 17.36g

27%

Saturated Fat 3.13g

16%

Cholesterol 51.05mg

17%

Sodium 306.74mg

13%

Potassium 956.69mg

27%

Total Carbohydrates 34.57g

12%

Fiber 8.39g

34%

Sugar 13.48g

 

Protein 16.96g

34%

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