Unstuff That Cabbage!

 Cabbage tete a tete

Cabbage tete a tete

I have a dear friend and cooking muse who stuffs cabbage rolls from scratch, and has given me a hands-on stuffing lesson. She generously allowed me to post her perfect recipe here. I have made the recipe several times, and it is decidedly worth the effort. Browsing a library copy of Gourmet over the weekend, I was taken with a beautiful photo of "Unstuffed Sweet and Sour Cabbage." In addition to the photo, two more things got my attention: I realized I had every single ingredient in my house, and that all but the seasonings and cranberries had come from Kentucky's earth and nurturing. Second, the recipe promises the flavors of famously slow-to-make-and-cook cabbage rolls in just one hour. One hour is not fast food, but it's manageable in my kitchen most nights.

I made the recipe last night, and it is a keeper. It is not as sensually pleasing as the little individual stuffed cabbage rolls, and the "juice" is not as richly flavored, quite, but what a fall and winter dish! I did not try to complete it in an hour, and probably spent 90 minutes on the "deconstructed cabbage rolls" from start to finish, doing other things along the way.

See the recipe here.

Watch a short video of Andrea Albin developing the recipe here.

Watch a shorter video (about 2.5 minutes) of the photo shoot for two Gourmet recipes, including the cabbage rolls, here.

What were the sources of my Kentucky ingredients? I had bought all but the canned tomatoes at the Lexington Farmers Market, offered by several different growers.

Chicken stock: In June we roasted an Elmwood Stock Farm certified organic pastured hen, and I boiled the bones in water -- nothing else because I'm lazy -- and froze the resulting broth. The onions and Black Angus ground round (instead of the chuck in the recipe) also grew at Elmwood, also certified organic.

Ground pork: Stone Cross Farm (free of antibiotics, steroids, and hormones) came by way of Blue Moon Farm distribution. The sustainably grown garlic also came from Blue Moon.

Cabbage: Silas Farm

And those canned tomatoes? My kind, energetic and good-looking Wayne County brother canned them from his own bountiful garden in 2007.

The recipe makes enough for several meals. I froze the leftovers on the bet they will be even more delightful later in the winter when a fifteen minute reheat will bring them steaming to the table.