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Video: Dinner tonight: Quick and easy stuffed cabbage

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    >>> but first, this is "today" on nbc.

    >>> this morning on "today's kitchen," "what's for dinner?" an old family recipe for stuffed cabbage .

    >> a collection of recipes passed down from generation to generation, a hazan family favorite.

    >> giuliano hazan is the author.

    >> great to be here.

    >> your mom was what julia child was to french cooking .

    >> my mother learned from her mother, my grandmother, who was born in 1895 . it really does run a long way. this is a recipe that my grandmother made.

    >> and this is the original sort of recipe book?

    >> this is a notebook that my mother took notes in when she married my father. he always said he could stand for a lot of things but not a bad meal.

    >> all right. we're doing stuffed cabbage .

    >> we are. this is savoy cabbage . first i may take out some that are a little bit bruised.

    >> right.

    >> and then the rest of them i cook in salted boiling water for, oh, about eight minutes or so. you want to be careful when you open them so they stay whole. add some salt to my water. and put them in. and then after about eight minutes when they come out, what you want to do is you need to remove the rib that's inside.

    >> oh, okay.

    >> okay? because that's kind of hard and tough. so you do that. and then these are ready to be filled to make the filling. i have ground lamb. if you can't get lamb, you can use ground beef as well. i have some finely chopped onion, some parsley, italian flat leaf parsley. and this is italian rice. the thing is, you don't need to cook it first.

    >> is that the same as a risotto?

    >> it is, yes. you could use this or you could use what's becoming more available. this is the fun part that the kids can do. from grandmother to kid. after you've mixed it all up, you get a little ball and you roll it up. and you make it into little sausages like this. and that's what you put inside. if you can hand me one of those, that would be great. let's put this away.

    >> this is really more of a middle eastern flair.

    >> this is something my grandmother on my mother's side in egypt made. you squeeze a little bit of the excess water.

    >> there you go.

    >> you put it in here. you put some butter in. you put a little bit of garlic. you put some lemon juice . here we go. and then some olive oil . extra virgin olive oil .

    >> so you don't use tomato paste or anything?

    >> no tomatoes in this. just enough water to come up maybe a quarter inch. we turn this on a medium heat, cover it and cook it for about 40 minutes.

    >> oh, wow.

    >> if we go around the back here, i have some that is already ready to go here. here they are. you want to watch them periodically. but you don't even need to turn them.

    >> you don't have to touch them or anything?

    >> no. sometimes i go like this just to mix up the juices while it's cooking.

    >> okay.

    >> and then it is ready to be served.

    >> lovely.

    >> what would be something good to serve this with?

    >> what would be good to serve it with? well, with some good bread, maybe. but, you know, a good glass of wine, i don't think you need anything else.

    >> it's all very healthy, right? delicious.

    >> what's for dessert?

    >> baklava. my grandmother on my father's side made it. we don't have a recipe on that.

    >> you created the recipe.

    >> my wife makes baklava.

    >> the book is recipe favorites. giuliano, thanks so much.

    >> thank you.

    >>> coming up, hoda and kathie

TODAY recipes
updated 5/3/2012 8:23:00 AM ET 2012-05-03T12:23:00

Recipe: Mahshi

  • 2 heads Savoy cabbage
  • Salt
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion
  • 5 to 6 sprigs flat leaf Italian parsley
  • 1 pound ground lamb (if unavailable, substitute beef)
  • 1/2 cup Italian rice for risotto (Carnaroli, Vialone Nano or Arborio)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 medium garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)

1. Place a pot with about 4 quarts water over high heat. Cover and bring to a boil.

2. Carefully remove the cabbage leaves, taking care not to break them. Stop once the leaves become smaller than about 4 inches wide. You should end up with about 2 dozen leaves.

3. When the water is boiling, add 1 tablespoon salt and put the leaves in. Cook until just tender, about 8 minutes. Lift them out of the water and lay them on a platter to cool.

4. While the cabbage is cooking and cooling, prepare the meat and rice filling. Peel and finely chop the onion. Finely chop enough parsley to measure about 2 tablespoons. Put the ground meat, rice, onions, and parsley in a mixing bowl. Season with salt and pepper and mix thoroughly with your hands.

5. When the cabbage leaves are cool enough to handle, cut away the portion of the rib that is wider than 1/4 inch. Lay a cabbage leaf flat, take a ball of the filling that is about 1 1/2 inches in diameter, roll in between your palms to form a little sausage, and place it on the cabbage leaf. Roll the leaf with the filling inside, folding in the edges as you go along. Gently squeeze out any excess moisture and place the roll in a 12-inch skillet. Continue until you have used up all the filling, or all the leaves. The rolls can be quite snug and even overlap a bit. If you have filling left over you can crumble it and add it to the pan. Peel and coarsely chop the garlic and add it to the pan along with the butter, olive oil, and lemon juice. Add enough water to come 1/4 inch up the sides, place over medium high heat and cover the pan. Once the liquid in the pan begins to bubble, lower the heat to medium low and cook for 40 minutes. Check the mahshi periodically but do not turn them. If all the liquid has evaporated before they are done, add a little more water. In the end there should be very little liquid left. If there is too much, remove the cover and raise the heat until it has evaporated. Serve hot.

Serving Size

Serves 4 people. Preparation time: 45 minutes. Total time from start to finish: about 1 1/2 hours.

Recipe: Baklava

  • For the baklava:
  • 1 cup blanched almonds
  • 1/2 pound phyllo dough
  • 1/2 cup shelled roasted salted pistachios
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • For the syrup:
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon orange extract
  • 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees on the regular bake setting.

2. Coarsely chop the almonds and pistachios. You can do this in a food processor, but be careful not to pulverize the nuts. The chopped pieces should be about the size of short-grained rice. Transfer the nuts to a bowl and add the cinnamon and 2 tablespoons sugar. Mix well.

3. Melt the butter in the microwave or over a low heat. Place a sheet of phyllo dough on a baking tray and brush it with some melted butter. Place another sheet over it and brush it with butter. Continue until you have a total of 8 sheets of phyllo dough then sprinkle half of the nut mixture over the top layer. Cover with 5 more sheets of buttered phyllo dough then sprinkle 3/4 of the remaining nut mixture on top. Place 5 more sheets of buttered phyllo dough then cover with the remaining nut mixture. Cut into 3-inch squares then cut each square diagonally to form triangles. Place the tray in the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350 degrees and bake 15 more minutes.

4. While the baklava is baking, put all the ingredients for the syrup into a 1-quart saucepan and place over medium low heat. Once the liquid begins to bubble, simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat.

5. When the baklava is out of the oven, let it rest for 10 minutes then brush the syrup over it. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

Serving Size

Makes about 30 pieces. Total time from start to finish: about 1 hour plus time to let the baklava cool.

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