Sunday, February 24, 2013

RECIPE: Balluchons de semoule (Semolina in cabbage "bags")

My father gave me a subscription to a gardening magazine for Christmas. Even better, this magazine includes recipes and a crossword. And it's weekly. So I am never out of gardening tricks to learn (I am still waiting for the thaw to be able to put any of these to use), crosswords to spend my mornings with, or recipes.

This one requires a fair number of steps--blanching both carrots and cabbage leaves, cooking semolina, sautéeing, mixing, and then forming little cabbage hobo bags  (this is what "balluchon" means). I recommend an extra pair of hands for the last step, but I'm sure more dexterous people will be able to handle it alone. Plan on taking at least an hour to make this. It depends how much multitasking you want to do. It's definitely worth the time, though--I'm a huge fan of semolina, spices, and raisins, and I've been adding pine nuts to a variety of recipes over the past year, but they could be left out if you don't want to splurge. Without that addition, it's a pretty low-cost meal, and quite filling.

PREP 30-45 min
COOK TIME 30 min


350 g / 2 cups semolina
12 green cabbage leaves
6 carrots
3 medium onions
2 garlic cloves
60 g / 3/4 cup raisins
1/2 cup pine nuts
Parsley (to taste)
1tbsp paprika
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp coriander
20 cl boullion liquid
1 tbsp sage


Soak raisins in water for 15 min to plump them up. While they soak, make up the semoule by whisking 1 tbsp of olive oil into the dry grains, then barely covering with boiling water. Let sit.

Cut carrots into slices and blanche in boiling water for 2 minutes. Then blanche the cabbage leaves for 5 minutes.

Dry roast the pine nuts. Remove from heat. Saute the garlic and onion in olive oil. When onion
is transparent, add the semolina, raisins, parsley, pine nuts, and spices. Cook for about 3-5 min.

Take 2 cabbage leaves and place them so that the leaf spines are perpendicular. Spoon on about 1/3 cup of the semolina mixture. Close up the leaves and tie with string (if you can do it like a package and wrap the string around twice, on all 4 sides, do that, or just uses 2 strings to secure). Repeat until you have used all 12 cabbage leaves.

Place the blanched carrots in the bottom of a large pot, then place the cabbage "bags" on top. Sprinkle with sage leaves, salt, and pepper. Pour bouillion liquid over the whole. Cook on low heat for 30 minutes.

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