Christmas Special: Course #2

Mains, Recipes

5 days until Christmas. Today I will share with you my main course (and some thoughts on it).

Earlier this week I elaborated on how challenging christmas can be if you have a specific diet. When I first became vegetarian, I felt deprived because I couldn’t (or wouldn’t) have any of the roast. I doubted my decision to not eat the turkey/venison/ lamb etc. I didn’t want to complicate or spoil christmas. At one point my lovely sister stepped in and although she loves eating meat, she started preparing amazing vegetarian dishes, year after year. Two years ago, she prepared cabbage ‘roulades’ and they were so good that all the other family members wanted to have one, too. That’s why I decided to recreate her recipe this year. As sides I made a refreshing green salad with pomegranate and red cabbage dumplings which are frozen, coated in bread crumbs and afterwards sautéed.

Cabbage Roulades with Cider Sauce

Ingredients (for 6):

  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 2 tsp coriander seeds, crushed
  • 180g brown rice
  • 75g chopped walnuts
  • 3 tbsp chopped dates
  • 250g chopped mushrooms
  • juice of one large lemon
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 12 savoy cabbage leaves, stems removed
  • 250ml cider
  • 250ml stock
  • 3 tsp flour

Instructions:

  1.  Fry the onion in the oil, then add the coriander, place a lid on the pan and let it cook for 5 minutes.
  2. Add the rice, coating it in oil, stir for a minute.
  3. Then add 400ml boiling water, the nuts and the dates. Let it simmer on low temperature for 40 minutes. When the rice is done, season it with the lemon juice, salt and pepper.
  4. Meanwhile, blanch the cabbage leaves (1-2 per person) in a pan of boiling water.
  5. Place 2 tbsp of filling on each cabbage leave, fold over the sides and then roll them up (like a wrap or spring rolls). You can fix the rolls with a skewer.
  6. Brown the roulades in a frying pan, then place them in a baking tray.
  7. Pour the cider and the broth over the roulades, add the bay leaves.
  8. Cover the tray with a lid or foil and leave it in the oven for 20-30 minutes.
  9. Thicken the sauce:  While stirring, carefully sift the flour into the liquid in the baking tray

Sautéed red cabbage dumplings

You can either use readily prepared red cabbage or (which I prefer) braise it yourself. This takes time, though, so you should probably do it one or two days in advance. Just braise the cabbage in red wine and vinegar, form little balls and freeze them until the day of the feast. Martha Steward has an authentic recipe on her website, I’d just leave out the bacon and add a clove instead.

Ingredients (for 6 persons):

  • 450g braised red cabbage
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 450g bread crumbs
  • 4 tbsp flour
  • 5 tbsp vegan milk (soy, rice etc.)

Instructions:

  1. Mix the braised cabbage with 2-3 tbsp of bread crumbs, then let it sit for 10 minutes
  2. Form little balls the size of a ping pong ball and put them on a large plate/ tray. This is a bit tricky, since the cabbage is quite soft. You’ll get better by time. When you’re done, put the tray in the oven for approximately an hour.
  3. Make a batter of the flour and the vegan milk and pour it into a shallow dish. Put the remaining bread crumbs into another shallow dish. Then dredge each cabbage ball first in the batter and then into the bread crumbs. Try to keep one hand dry (right) and use the other one (left) for the moist ingredients.
  4. Heat the olive oil in a pan. Gently lay the dumplings into the pan and sauté until golden brown and crispy.
  5. Drain on paper towels

Tip: These dumplings are crispy and golden brown on the outside, yet moist and ruby red on the inside. They look especially beautiful if you cut them in half before plating

Rapunzel and pomegranate salad in a radicchio bowl

Ingredients:

  • 1 small pomegranate
  • 300g rapunzel/ lamb’s lettuce
  • 1 small radicchio
  • 200g carrots
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1.  Cut and de-seed the pomegranate
  2. Wash the salad, peel and slice the carrot thinly
  3. Remove the leaves of the radicchio one by one and use them as shells for the rapunzel, the carrots and the pomegranate seeds (one for each plate)
  4. Season the lemon juice with salt and pepper and add the oil slowly while whisking; pour the sauce over the individual salad bowls

This was it: I wish you a wonderful feast!

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