Thursday, September 20, 2012

Lambage Rolls! Lamb & Rice Stuffed Cabbage Leaves with Almonds and Currants

My love of cabbage rolls is deep and unconditional. I almost always make the same version, based on my Aunt Angela’s famous recipe, but once in a while, just for the hell of it, I’ll use lamb instead of beef. 

I love lamb burgers and lamb meatballs, so it’s no surprise that I love lamb-stuffed cabbage rolls, and I’m happy to report that these particular “lambage” rolls were the best non-beef version yet!

I remembered a middle-eastern restaurant Michele and I used to frequent, which served a lamb meatball stewed with tomatoes and spices, and served over a rice pilaf studded with almonds and currants. I really loved that dish and tried to incorporate those elements into these cabbage rolls.

I loved the results. Big, bold flavors, yet not too heavy, and like all cabbage rolls, these were very, very comforting. I used a pretty lean grind for the lamb, but ideally the butcher will give you something close to a 80/20 lean-to-fat ratio.

As far as the rest of the stuff, you’re on your own, and as usual I’ll ignore most of the “can I leave out the [insert delicious, totally necessary ingredient here]” questions. You are the boss of your cabbage rolls, so act like it. Anyway, I hope you share my love of cabbage rolls, and if you do, I really hope you give this version a try. Enjoy!

Makes 8 Lambage Rolls
1 lb ground lamb
1 cup rice
1/4 cup butter
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cayenne
pinch dried oregano
1/4 cup packed Italian parsley
1 tbsp dried currants
2 tbsp sliced almonds
1 cup tomato puree
3 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/2 onion sliced
1 head cabbage
salt and pepper to taste
feta and parsley to garnish, optional

View the complete recipe