How sad is it to say that I’ve been hoping for a savoy cabbage in my veg bag for a few weeks now? The reason was I wanted to try stuffed cabbage leaves: so I was a very happy bunny when not only did I get a cabbage, but some chestnut mushrooms too – which were perfect for the stuffing. The best bit about this recipe is that you use the big outside leaves that you might otherwise be tempted to throw away. And I’ve still got the inner heart of the cabbage left to use in another recipe.

Stuffed cabbage leaves

8 cabbage leaves (or fewer if they are enormous)
1 onion, finely chopped
4 mushrooms finely chopped
1 stick celery finely chopped
a few dried apricots or dates or sultanas chopped into small chunks
100 g basmati rice (or long grain rice would work ok too)

250 ml veg stock
1 tsp honey
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

First blanch the cabbage leaves by putting them in boiling water for 2 minutes. Then rinse them in cold water (to stop them from carrying on cooking), drain thoroughly and pat dry with kitchen towel.

Heat the oven to 180 deg C/ fan 160 deg C and whilst it’s heating make the stuffing.

Gently fry the onion, mushrooms and celery in some olive oil for about 10 minutes until soft. Then add the basmati rice and cook for another minute. Remove from the heat, transfer everything into a bowl  and add the dried fruit.

Now the fun starts. Put a couple of teaspoons full into the middle of a cabbage leaf, now attempt to roll it up, tucking the sides in to stop the filling falling out. Then place the cabbage leaf into a baking dish with the open bit of the cabbage leaf at the bottom. Carry on until you’ve stuffed all the leaves and you have all the parcels snugly in a single layer in the baking dish. Now mix together the stock, honey and balsamic vinegar and pour it carefully over the cabbage parcels. Put foil over the dish and bake for 1 hour, then remove the foil and bake for another 15 minutes. We had it with some tomato salad, but next time I’d make a hot tomato sauce instead. Either way – it was very good.