Stuffed Cabbage and Ricotta Pancakes: Alex Jackson’s Recipes for Festive Bun | meal


HThere’s a fun meal for you: stuffed cabbage followed by stuffed pancakes. Double role! Stuffed cabbage rolls are popular across continental Europe, so god knows why Britain hasn’t embraced them the same way – after all, we love a bit of ground beef and boiled cabbage. These are close to the Polish Golabki (which translates as “little pigeons”), which were taught to me by my late grandmother-in-law Wiera. Then, for dessert, filled crepes via the late Gay Hussar restaurant in London: We still cook them in the same kitchen, in what is now Noble Rot Soho, but spice them up a little with a sour cherry suzette.

Stuffed cabbage rolls (picture above)

This is an untraditional recipe as I put some pheasant meat in the filling, but it also works with (leftover) turkey or any other game and is just as tasty with just pork. I often make a vegan version with a mushroom and sauerkraut filling at home.

preparation 15 minutes
Cook 1 hour
Serves 4th

1 savoy cabbage
50g butter
, plus 2 tablespoons extra for frying
1 tbsp neutral oil
1 onion
, peeled and diced
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
1 sprig of fresh thyme, Leaves plucked and chopped
75g risotto rice
400g fat minced pork
2 boneless pheasant breasts
(about 150g), skinned and finely chopped (or 150g leftover roasted turkey)
2 tbsp chopped parsley
Salt, pepper and freshly grated nutmeg
, taste
2 tbsp vegetable bouillon powder
6 slices dried porcini mushrooms, soaked in a little hot water
150ml tomato passata
Boiled potatoes (peeled), serve
sour cream, serve

Bring a large saucepan of water to a simmer. Core the cabbage, then place it in the water with the core side up, cutting each leaf individually as it lifts and separates from the head. Arrange on a plate lined with kitchen paper to drain and cool, then cut off the central ribs so that the leaves are a little flatter so that they can be rolled more easily later.

Melt two tablespoons of butter and oil in a large pan over medium heat, then sauté the onion, garlic and thyme for about 15 minutes, until they are soft but not colored. Add the rice and 100 ml of water and cook while stirring (as for risotto) for about 15 minutes, adding more water while it is soaked up, until the rice is almost ready. Let cool, then stir in all of the meat and parsley and season.

Now stuff the cabbage. On one side of each sheet, place a thick sausage from the filling, then roll it up tightly and fold the sides, similar to a burrito: they should be fat and full, but not overcrowded, otherwise they will burst when cooked. By the end, you should have 12-16 rolls, or enough for three or four per person. Place the stuffed leaves, folded side down, in a saucepan in which they fit nicely in two layers: make sure that they are packed tightly so that they do not move when you cook.

Mix the bouillon powder with 300 ml of freshly boiled water, then stir in the sieved porcini mushrooms, their soaking liquid and the passata and season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Pour the broth over the cabbage rolls – it should almost cover them with only the top of the top layer sticking out.

Slice the 50 g butter, place on top of the rolls to cover them, then put the lid on and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Simmer gently for 15 to 20 minutes, until the rolls are very soft.

Season again to taste, then serve with the pan juice, boiled potatoes and sour cream.

Baked stuffed pancakes with sour cherry sauce

Alex Jackson’s Baked Stuffed Pancakes with Sour Cherry Sauce.

This dish is adapted from a dish that used to be on the menu at Gay Hussar, the Hungarian restaurant that once lived in the premises where I now cook. Túrós Palacsinta is a sweet pancake with cottage cheese that is rolled up, buttered, sprinkled with sugar and baked until crispy; my version has ricotta and cream cheese, and I like to serve it with a suzette-style sauce with sour cherries. It’s not particularly traditional (sorry, Hungary), but ricotta and tart cherries are a classic combo, and the crimson sauce looks wonderfully festive. Thanks to Simon Hopkinson for pointing me in the right direction.

preparation 15 minutes
Relax 1 hour
Cook 30 minutes
Serves 4th

For the dough
140g flour
2 eggs
1 pinch of salt
1 pinch of powdered sugar
, plus a little more at the end
140ml milk
140ml sparkling water
1 tbsp oil
2 tbsp unsalted butter
to bake the pancakes
1-2 tbsp salted butter, soft, for brushing the pancakes

For the filling
125g ricotta
90g cream cheese
, or cottage cheese
1 egg
15g raisins
, soaked in some rum
1 teaspoon mixed orange and lemon peel
Fresh orange and lemon juice
, taste
40g powdered sugar
powdered sugar
, serve

for the sauce
250g frozen sour cherries
125g powdered sugar
100g cold unsalted butter
, diced, plus 1 tbsp extra at the end
2 tbsp rum

Mix all ingredients for the dough in a bowl until smooth and mix well, then leave to rest for an hour.

In the meantime, mix all the ingredients for the filling in a second bowl, then season to taste and add more sugar or lemon juice if necessary. Place in refrigerator until ready to use.

Puree the sour cherries in a blender with 25 g sugar, then pass through a fine sieve. Heat the remaining 100 g sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat, melt to a light caramel, then stir in the cherry juice first, then the butter cubes and finally the rum. Leave the sauce in the pan to reheat later.

Preheat the oven to 220 ° C (200 ° C fan) / 425F / gas 7. While the oven is warming up, bake eight pancakes. Heat your favorite pancake pan and add a small piece of unsalted butter to it. Pour a small ladle of batter into the pan, toss, and cook until it sits under it for about a minute. Turn over, cook on the other side for another minute, then let cool. Repeat with the rest of the batter.

Place two to three tablespoons of the filling on one edge of each cooled pancake, then roll it up into a thin cylinder. Place the pancakes on a lightly buttered tray, brush with salted butter and sprinkle lightly with more sugar. Bake for four or five minutes, until the edges are crispy and colored.

While the pancakes are cooking, gently heat the sauce. Pour some sauce on each plate, place two pancakes on top and serve sprinkled with more powdered sugar.

Alex Jackson is Head Chef at Noble Rot Soho, London W1

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