CRETE ON A PLATE ...
Crete, the Mediterranean´s 5th largest island, with four lofty mountain ranges, boasts more than 4.000 years of history and a continent´s worth of diversity. My first glimmer came when an acquaintance in Heraklio sent us to interview her Godmother in Arkalohori, a small village hidden amongst the olive groves and vineyards, about an hour´s drive south.
Well into her 80s, however, more energetic than the average, this paragon of healthy living filled my ears with unconventional cooking techniques. Here is one of her stuffed cabbage recipes, which we have adopted over the years.
Lahno-dolmades - Stuffed Cabbage With Avgolemono Lemon Sauce ...
1 green large cabbage of choice
60 ml. ( 1/4 CUP ) Evoo Greek Olive Oil ( or Italian or Spanish )
MEAT FILLING ...
2 Tblsps. Evoo
3 large onions finely chopped
100 grams ( 1/2 cup ) long grain rice
1/2 pound ( 225 grams ) ground lamb or ground beef or ground pork
1 garlic clove minced
fresh dill chopped finely
1 tsp. cumin ground
1 tsp. dried spearmint or fresh mint
freshly ground black pepper
AVGOLEMONO ... LEMON SAUCE ...
3 juiced fresh lemons
2 room temperature eggs
1. carefully slice out the hard core of the cabbage and wash well
2. blanch the cabbage in large pot of boiling salted water 7 minutes, until tender enough for the leaves to easily come off for stuffing.
3. remove leaves and rinse under cold water and pat dry and separate
4. To prepare meat filling: in a large heavy skillet, heat 3 tblsps of Evoo and sauté the onion until translucent and add rice and stir for few minutes and then, add the ground meat of choice and stir lightly until lightly browned
5. lower heat and add garlic, herbs, spices and salt & blk. freshly ground pepper, with 125 ml. or 1/2 cup of chicken broth or stock or water, or beef broth and simmer covered over low heat 10 mins. or until meat is done and rice softened yet not done. Liquid should be completely absorbed.
6. pour 2 tblsps Evoo into a large pot and using whatever cabbage leaves are too small to roll, cover the bottom of the pot
7. taking 1 leaf at a time; place 2 tblsps of filling, slightly more or less depending on the size of each leaf, in bottom center of cabbage leaf
8. tuck in the left, then, the right and then roll up gently from the bottom towards the top of leaf
9. carefully place in pot, seam side down and repeat process until all filling and leaves are used
10. Pour 180 to 250 ml. water to comeup to about 3 cm. or 1 1/2 inches in the bottom of the pot, remaining Evoo and the juice of one large lemon over the stuffed cabbage leaves
11. place a plate over the rolled leaves to press them down and cover the pot and bring the liquid to boil over Medium heat, then reduce heat to low simmer and simmer for one hour.
12. cover and simmer until leaves are very tender and almost translucent and add more water and lemon juice to pot if necessary
13. there should be 375 ml. or 1 1/2 cups liquid in pot to use for the Lemon Sauce.
14. beat together the eggs and the lemon juice until frothy and very slowly add about 375 ml. of broth to egg mixture and beating vigorously, beat with a whisk to keep egg from curdling and pour immediately over the stuffed cabbage and serve with Pita and a dry Rosé or Cava or Rosé Prosecco DOC sparkling wine
*** photo to follow
Have lovely summer,