5.22.2012

Mediterranean Cabbage Rolls with Lemon Sauce

So the official name is Lahanodolmades Avgolemono (Cabbage rolls with egg Lemon Sauce).  I love it.  My hubbie liked the cabbage rolls, but is still not converted to the lemon sauce yet. 

Its easy, great with the kids help (they love to stuff and roll cabbage leaves) and it cooks on top of the stove and not in the oven, so nice for the spring, summer months as well.  The lemon sauce makes it lighter for this time of year too. 

Greek Stuffed Cabbage Rolls with Lemon-Egg Sauce (Lahanodolmades Avgolemono)

2 pounds sweet Italian sausage (seasoned ground lamb sausage is good too)
2 eggs, slightly beaten
3/4 c risotto rice (uncooked)
2 T dried dill or 3 T fresh dill, chopped
1-1/2 t fresh ground sea salt
1 t fresh ground black pepper
1 T fresh dill
1 med onion, chopped fine
1 T olive oil
1 T water
100 g pine nut, coarsely chopped
2 medium sized tomatoes, shredded
3 T fresh chopped Italian parsley
3/4 c olive oil
1 onion sliced, thin
3 med carrots, sliced lengthwise about 1/4 inch thick
2 stalks of celery - leaves only
chicken stock
2 heads of cabbage

Clean cabbage leaves.  Remove the core from the cabbage, making sure not to tear or break the large leaves.  Carefully separate and remove the whole leaves from the cabbage head. Rinse clean. 
Cut out the bitter center vein at the bottom of the leaf, only slightly up into the leaf.  Do not cut the leaf in half.  Set aside the smaller leaves. 

Bring salted water to boil in a large pot. Once the water is boiling, blanch 2-3 leaves at a time, removing and allowing to cool.  Do not cook completely, just blanch so they are pliable and will shape into a log around the filling.  Repeat until all the leaves are blanched. 

In a large mixing boil, combine the sausage, eggs, risotto, dill, salt, pepper, onion, pine nuts, tomatoes and parsley.  Mix together, adding the oil and water to moisten.  

Spoon out filling and place into the center of the leaf and carefully folding the cabbage around the meat mixture in a nice secure bundle.

In the bottom of a large stew pot, line the bottom with the sliced onions, carrots, and celery leaves. 
Then place the remaining smaller cabbage leaves on top of the onions and carrots.  Place the prepared cabbage rolls on top of the cabbage leaves, making the snugly fit together.  Then put plate, inverted on top of all the cabbage rolls, pressing down slightly to secure. 
Pour over top, the chicken broth, covering the mixture and the plate.  Once the broth has come to a boil, turn down the flame to simmer. Simmer the cabbage rolls for approximately 1 hour. 

Right before the cabbage rolls are done, prepare the Avgolemono sauce. 

Avgolemono Sauce

5 egg yolks
1 T water
1/2 c fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 T corn starch

Whisk eggs over simmering water until frothy.  This should take a few minutes. Pour slowly into the whisked egg mixture, the lemon juice.  Add about 1 T of the cooking broth to the egg mixture.  Carefully whisk into the mix (still over the simmering water) the cornstarch.  Cook until slightly thickened.  Remove the cabbage rolls from the broth and place on a platter. Pour a few spoonfuls immediately over the cabbage rolls, and pour the rest of the sauce into a serving bowl.   Garnish top of cabbage rolls with chopped fresh dill.

Printable Recipe for Mediterranean Cabbage Rolls with Lemon Sauce