Thursday, October 14, 2010

Turkey Cabbage rolls

2 weeks ago I brought home a partially thawed turkey left over from a commercial I worked on. I did not host thanksgiving this year, however my family did not miss out on turkey centric meals such as turkey and wild rice soup, turkey pot pie & turkey a la king. So as to avoid having turkey many nights in a row I had planned on cryovacing de-boned cooked turkey meat and freezing it. The night I roasted the actual bird I got sidetracked and didn't get to it, (read I had guests over and was feeling a bit lazy). The next night we returned exhausted from Runaway Creek Farm and had leftover turkey, mash and gravy re-heated in the microwave, and I forgot my plans for the meat. That basically decided it. Turkey would be our supper for days to come.

With well over a weeks rest from turkey leftovers I have prepared another turkey meal. I did manage to make turkey stock and was able to freeze it quickly. Turkey stock serves as the braising liquid for these cabbage rolls. The ground meat is turkey and you will find it more frequently at your grocers this time of year. If not, ground chicken or pork are good substitutes. I am not a fan of the traditional cabbage rolls in a tomato sauce. These cabbage rolls are my comfort food and are kid friendly and simple.

Turkey Cabbage Rolls
makes 20 rolls

15 ml / 1 T butter
15 ml / 1 T olive or canola oil
1 large leek, sliced in half lengthwise, then quartered
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
60 ml / 1/4 cup white wine
1 large head of cabbage
454 g / 1 lb ground turkey
250 ml / 1 cup uncooked white rice such as basmati
5 ml / 1 t turmeric, ground
salt and freshly ground pepper
1 l / 4 cups turkey or chicken stock
splash of white vinegar
sprig of thyme

Set a large pot of water to boil. In a saute pan add butter and olive oil and saute the leeks over medium heat for several minutes until softened. Add the garlic and saute for 2 minutes more. Deglaze with wine and remove when pan is almost dry. Set aside in a medium sized bowl.

Delicately remove as many leaves from cabbage head as you can without ripping them (1-4 usually). Then place the cabbage head in the boiling water for a few minutes. Using tongs delicately remove cabbage from water and gingerly remove as many leaves as will give way easily. Return cabbage head to the pot and continue this way until you have at least 20 leaves. Test each leaf for easy manipulation. If the leaves are too firm put them back into the boiling water for a minute or 2 until they will fold easily. Set them aside.

Add the ground turkey, rice & turmeric to the cooled cooked leeks. Gently mix together. Season.

Meanwhile bring the stock to a simmer on stove top in an oven proof dish with a tight fitting lid that is large enough to accommodate 20 cabbage rolls.

Pre-heat the oven to 325 F / 163 C.

Place one leaf on a work surface and fill with 2 generous tablespoons of the meat mixture. Fold half the leaf over meat mixture and then tuck in sides and roll. The rolls need not be perfect. When they are done place them seam side down into the oven proof dish. They should be packed in snugly. Add a splash of vinegar and a sprig of thyme, and then pop the oven proof dish with lid on into the oven for about an hour and 15 minutes. Serve these rolls with a few spoonfuls of the stock, some crispy oven roasted potatoes and grainy mustard.

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