Lamb and rice-stuffed cabbage rolls poached in broth

Ingredients 15
Servings 4


  • 1
    large white cabbage, outer leaves removed and set aside, core cut out
  • 500
    lean lamb, minced
  • 100
    raw rice, rinsed
  • 1
    large onion
  • 12
    dried apricots, chopped
  • salt and pepper
  • 125
    chopped herbs (fresh flat leaf parsley, savoury, basil, tarragon and mint)
  • several lamb bones, or a chicken carcass
  • 1
    large, tart apple or quince, peeled and cubed
  • 1
    onion, sliced
  • handful dried apricots
  • knob of butter
  • hot water
  • coarse salt and pepper


Blanch the cabbage in a large pot of boiling water, peeling off the leaves as they soften. Have a bowl of cold water to slip them into, to stop the cooking, and then drain in a colander. Save the heart of the cabbage for another purpose. The easiest way to chop the onion and herbs for the stuffing, is to use a processor. Strip the herbs from the stalks before washing and drying them. Spin them in the processor, then drop in the onion cut in rough pieces and spin again until you have a green chopped mass. Mix this with the apricots, rice and lamb and season liberally with salt and pepper - start with 10 ml salt and 3 ml freshly ground pepper. Mix with your hand and adjust salt to taste. TO STUFF THE LEAVES: Lay the cabbage leaves on the work surface, rib side up. Using a small, sharp knife, shave off the thick central rib to thin it. Divide the filling mixture among the leaves, setting it down on the bottom third of the leaf. Roll the leaves up, tucking in the ends, and then give each roll a gentle squeeze. This helps to keep them together. TO COOK THE CABBAGE ROLLS: Put the lamb bones at the bottom of the cooking pot and lay the reserved outer cabbage leaves over them. Lay the rolled up cabbage leaves in the pot in a neat row, close together. Change the direction of the rolls for the next layer. This all helps to keep them from unrolling during cooking. Scatter the cubed apple, sliced onions and apricots over the rolls, season with coarse salt and pepper, and distribute the butter over the top. Lay an inverted plate over the cabbage rolls and pour in enough hot water to come up to the plate. Bring the pot to a boil, then cover it and cook on a low heat for 1 hour. Allow the cabbage rolls to settle for 10 minutes before serving. Serve with dill and sour cream.


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