Lamb and buckwheat stuffed cabbage
- January 2024
- Serves 4
- Hands-on time 1 hour. Oven time 1 hour 15 min, plus simmering time 45 min
Debora Robertson’s lamb and buckwheat stuffed cabbage recipe is inspired by some of the cabbage-y winter delights she ate while living in Moscow.
Debora says: “Don’t be put off by having to wrap it up in muslin like a Christmas pudding – muslin is so cheap and has so many uses in the kitchen.” Fancy making a vegetarian version? Check out the Tips section below.
Boost your brassica intake with more cabbage recipes.
- 21g (11g saturated)
- 30g (20g sugars)
- 40g kasha (roasted buckwheat) or cooked brown rice
- 1 savoy cabbage
- 30g unsalted butter
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 1 bay leaf
- 2-3 thyme sprigs
- 1 carrot, finely chopped
- 1 celery stick, finely chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 300g lamb or pork mince
- 1 medium free-range egg, lightly beaten
- Small bunch (12g) dill, chopped, plus a little extra to garnish
- Small bunch (12g) flatleaf parsley, chopped
- ¼ tsp chilli flakes
- Soured cream to serve
For the sauce
- 20g unsalted butter
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
- 300ml chicken stock
- 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
- Muslin cloth
- Begin by cooking the kasha (skip if using cooked brown rice). Put the kasha in a pan and add 80g water and a pinch of salt. Bring to the boil, cover, lower the heat and simmer for 5-7 minutes or until the water has largely evaporated. Remove from the heat and leave, covered, for a few minutes, then fluff up with a fork.
- Put the cabbage upside down in a bowl just big enough to hold it. Take a sharp knife and cut out and discard the core in a cone shape. Peel away the best outer leaves – you will need about 10 (keep any remaining cabbage to use in another meal). Use a peeler or sharp knife to pare away some of the protruding spines/stems on the larger leaves so they will be more flexible and cook evenly.
- Bring a pan of well salted water to the boil and prepare a bowl of iced water. Working in batches, boil the cabbage leaves a few at a time for a couple of minutes, then lift them out with tongs and submerge them in the iced water. Drain them on a tea towel, then repeat with the remaining leaves.
- Take the bowl you used to core the cabbage and line it with muslin so the edges fall about 15cm over the sides. Line with the leaves (reserve 3), overlapping them slightly to form a solid layer.
- To make the filling, warm the butter in a frying pan over a low-medium heat, then add the onion, bay, thyme and a good pinch of salt. Cook gently until the onion is soft (about 15 minutes), then add the carrot and celery. Cook for a few minutes more, then add the garlic. Fry for a final minute, then remove from the heat and discard the bay and thyme.
- Mix together the kasha/rice, onion mixture, mince, egg, herbs and chilli flakes. Season well with salt and pepper and mix until well combined. Spoon a third of the mixture into the cabbage leaves, top with a leaf, then add another third of mixture, another leaf, the remaining mixture, then the final leaf. Pull the muslin up around the sides to secure everything into a ball, then tie the top of the muslin with kitchen string. Trim off any excess so it will sit flat. Heat the oven to 160°C fan/gas 4.
- To make the sauce, melt the butter in a large, heavy based casserole with a lid (big enough to hold the cabbage) and cook the onion and garlic with a pinch of salt for 15 minutes until the onion is soft and translucent. Add the chopped tomatoes, stock and vinegar, season, then simmer for 15 minutes. Put the wrapped cabbage in the casserole on top of the sauce with the tied knot on the bottom. Cover with a lid and bake for 1 hour 15 minutes.
- Remove from the oven, allow to cool for 10 minutes, then lift out the cabbage. Remove the muslin. Cut into wedges, garnish with dill and serve with some of the sauce and soured cream.
Make it vegetarian Omit the meat and increase the kasha/rice to 120g, cooked in 240ml water. When you’ve sautéed the onions, carrots and celery, increase the heat and add 400g sliced chestnut mushrooms with a good pinch of salt. Fry until the mushrooms have started to take on some colour. Add the garlic and fry for another minute, then combine with the rest of the ingredients from the main recipe, along with 50g chopped walnuts.
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