Cabbage Dumpling with Lentils & Farro

December 16, 2014 § 1 Comment

cabbage dumplings in dutch oven

I’m here to tell you a new way to use up your leftovers…cabbage dumplings! My typical way to use up leftovers is to stuff them into a pocket, but I had been craving stuffed cabbage so I switched up my game plan. (Do other people crave stuffed cabbage? Is this one of the weirdest things to have a hankering for…?)

I cooked up this recipe last weekend while stuck inside studying for finals. I had made a big pot of lentils braised in red wine from Food52 a few days earlier, but failed to make anything to go with it, so they kinda just sat in my fridge. Finals brain fail.

When I couldn’t stand to think about game theory or capital structure for one minute longer, I got into the kitchen. I based this stuffed cabbage off of Deb from Smitten Kitchen’s recipe. I mainly used her technique for turning the stuffed cabbage into dumpling instead of cabbage rolls (so much cuter) and followed her genius idea of simmering the cabbage dumplings in a tomato sauce. YUM.

Now, you could really throw any grain salad or legumes you’ve got in your fridge into the cabbage dumplings, but the lentils braised in red wine are really delicious, and provide a nice contrast to the sweetness of the tomato sauce. If you have some time to let these lentils simmer on your stove, I highly recommend it. The best part of this dish is that some of the filling inevitably leaks out of the dumplings into the sauce, helloooo flavor. Please report back if you find any other recipes that make excellent filling for cabbage dumplings. I’m hooked.

cabbage dumplings with lentils and farro

P.S. Sorry for the sporadic posting around here folks. It’s been a crazy couple of weeks with Thanksgiving traveling, finals, and lots happening at work. I now am free as a bird till the New Year, so I promise lots of fun recipes are coming your way!

Cabbage Dumplings with Lentils & Farro

A mishmash of this lentil recipe from Food52 and this stuffed cabbage recipe from Smitten Kitchen

Note: As mentioned above, I braised the lentils in red wine and cooked up some farro for the stuffing. You could use any grain/legume combination you like, just make sure it’s well seasoned.

For the farro:

  • 1/2 cup farro
  • 1 cup water

For the lentils:

  • 1/8 cup olive oil, plus a couple tablespoons for finishing
  • 1/4 cup carrots, diced
  • 1/4 cup celery, diced
  • 1/3 cup onions, diced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 cup green lentils (red lentils won’t hold up well)
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1 to 1 1/4 cups water

For the cabbage dumplings and tomato sauce:

  • 1 large savoy cabbage
  • 1 28-ounce can peeled plum tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced

Make the lentils and the farro:

  1. Add the water and farro to a medium pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and cover. Simmer for 25-30 minutes. Remove from heat.
  2. In another medium pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat.
  3. Add carrots, celery, and onion to the pan, plus a few dashes of salt. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Increase the heat a bit and add the lentils, bay leaf, wine, and a 1/2 cup of the water. Once the pot starts to simmer, turn down the heat and cook without the cover. Stir the lentils every once in a while, and add more water, in small amounts, as the liquid is absorbed. The lentils should be done after about a half hour. You want them to still have a bit of bite to them, and there will still be liquid in the pot.
  5. Salt to taste, and a few more drizzles of olive oil, and cook for another minute or so.
  6. Add the lentils to the pot with the farro and stir to combine. You can leave some of the liquid from the lentils behind. If it doesn’t look like it will all fit in the pot, you can combine them together in a bowl.

Prepare the cabbage and form the dumplings:

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
  2. Remove any torn outer leaves from the cabbage, and then peel off each large leaf one by one. You will want about 12 leaves to make the dumplings. Peel carefully but don’t worry if a leaf or two rips a bit.
  3. Drop a few cabbage leaves at a time into the bowling water and cook for 30 seconds to a minute. Lay the cabbage leaves out on a couple of clean dish towels and let them cool and dry.
  4. When the cabbage leaves are dry, place one of the cabbage leaves on your counter. You may want to trim off some of the stalk if it’s not lying flat. With a large spoon, scoop a few spoonfuls of the farro lentil mixture onto the middle of the cabbage leaf. Form some of the filling mixture into a golf ball-sized round. Wrap the cabbage leaves up towards the top and pin at the top with a toothpick. Deb describes this like wrapping up a wine bottle. Repeat until you have turned each leaf into a dumpling.
  5. Save any extra filling– you can add it to the sauce towards the end of cooking.

Make the sauce and cook the cabbage dumplings:

  1. Heat the two tablespoons of olive oil in a dutch oven or heavy pot with a lid over medium heat.
  2. Add the minced garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes and their juices, and use a spatula to break up the tomatoes into chunks.
  3. Bring the sauce to a noisy simmer and salt to taste.
  4. Add the cabbage dumplings to the pot and cover. Simmer for 25 minutes.
  5. Take out the toothpicks, turn the cabbage dumplings over carefully (tongs work well), and cook with the cover on for another 25 minutes.
  6. Finally, add any extra filling to the pot, uncover and cook for another 10 minutes. Then, eat!


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