My grandmother made the best cabbage rolls around. What made hers so special, besides the fact they were made by her, was her sauce; sweet but not overpoweringly so and reduced during the long slow baking into a delicious intensity. It's her sauce I use on my vegetarian version. Serve with Rösti.
1 2 lb (900 g) cabbage
1 tsp (5 ml) salt
3/4 cup (180 ml) farro
3/4 cup (180 ml) long-grain white rice
2 Tbsp (30 ml) vegetable oil
1 medium onion, coarsely grated
1 large carrot, peeled & coarsely grated
1 medium zucchini, coarsely grated
1 tsp (5 ml) paprika
1/4 tsp (1.25 ml) smoked paprika (optional)
1/4 tsp (1.25 ml) ground allspice
Salt & pepper to taste
1 28 oz (376 ml) tin plum tomatoes
Big pinch of salt
1/3 cup (80 ml) brown sugar
Juice from half a lemon
Oil a 9 by 13 in (22 by 33 cm) baking pan. Set aside.
Remove the core from your cabbage. Place the cabbage in a large pot which has about 2 in (5 cm) of water in it. Bring it to a boil, reduce the heat until the water is at a simmer, cover the pot and let the cabbage steam for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the outside leaves are soft and easy to remove. Remove 12 leaves and set them aside. You may have to remove a few leaves and then let the cabbage steam longer.
Thinly slice any cabbage you have left over and return it to the pot. Add the salt and simmer until the cabbage is tender. Drain and spread in the bottom of your prepared pan. Set aside.
Meanwhile, cook the farro according to package directions. Drain and place into a large heat-proof bowl.
Bring the rice to a boil in plenty of salted water. Reduce the heat and simmer the rice for 5 minutes. Drain and add to the farro.
Heat the oil in a sauté pan over high heat. Add the grated onion, carrot and zucchini. Reduce the heat to medium and sauté for 3 minutes. Add to the farro/rice mixture. Add the paprika, smoked paprika and allspice. Season with salt and pepper.
Preheat the oven to 350 F (175 C). Place the farro/rice mixture onto the lower middle of each cabbage leaf. Start rolling up the filling from the bottom. Make one full turn, tuck both sides toward the middle, then continue rolling. Don't roll them too tightly as the rice will expand during cooking, but they must be compact to hold their shape. Place them into the prepared pan.
Crush the tomatoes and add the salt to them, pour over the rolls. Sprinkle with the brown sugar and then the lemon juice. Cover with foil, place in the oven and bake for 1 hour. Remove the foil and bake for another 30 minutes.
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