Rice-stuffed cabbage rolls

    Makes about 8 servings


    • 2 oz. dried dark mushrooms
    • 1½ cups brown rice
    • 3 cups water
    • 1 tsp. salt, and more to taste
    • 2 Tbs. butter
    • 2 cups chopped onions
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1 tsp. sweet paprika
    • ⅛ to ¼ tsp. hot paprika
    • 1 tsp. dill seeds
    • ½ cup raisins
    • ⅔ cup finely chopped walnuts
    • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
    • ½ cup dry bread crumbs
    • pepper to taste


    • 4 Tbs. butter
    • 1 cup chopped onions
    • 1 qt. cooked tomatoes (with liquid)
    • ½ cup medium-sweet vermouth
    • 2½ Tbs. lemon juice
    • 3 oz. tomato paste
    • salt to taste
    • pepper to taste
    • 1 large head cabbage (about 2½ lbs.)

    1. Soak the mushrooms in about a quart of hot water for 1 hour.
    2. Bring the rice to a boil in 3 cups of water with 1 tsp. salt, then lower the heat and simmer it for 25 minutes. Drain the rice.
    3. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a skillet and sauté the 2 cups chopped onions and the minced garlic in it until the onions are transparent.
    4. Drain the mushrooms, reserving the liquid. Wash the mushrooms carefully, one by one, to remove every speck of sand, and mince them. Add them to the onions and garlic and sauté the mixture for another few minutes.
    5. Strain the liquid from the mushrooms through 5 or 6 layers of cheesecloth or through a paper filter and add 3 cups of it to the mushroom mixture, along with the cooked rice, the two paprikas, the dill seeds, and the raisins. Simmer this mixture gently for about ½ hour, or until most of the liquid is absorbed. Then add the walnuts, eggs, bread crumbs, and salt and pepper. Continue cooking this filling, stirring often, until it is quite thick.
    6. Core the cabbage and blanch it in boiling salted water for 5 minutes. Carefully peel off 14 or 15 leaves. If the inner leaves are still too stiff, put them back in the boiling water for 1 or 2 minutes. Trim 1½ inches off the bottom of each leaf and a little of the sides of the largest ones.
    7. Put 2 or 3 tablespoons of filling in the center of each cabbage leaf and roll it up, folding the sides in as you do.
    8. Chop the remaining cabbage coarsely, and sauté it in 4 tablespoons butter with 1 cup chopped onions. When the onions are translucent, add the tomatoes, coarsely chopped, together with their liquid, the vermouth, the lemon juice, tomato paste, and salt and pepper. Stir this sauce up thoroughly and heat it through.
    9. Put several large spoonfuls of this sauce in the bottom of a large, fireproof casserole. Arrange a layer of the stuffed cabbage leaves in it, seam side down and close together. Cover them with more of the sauce and arrange another layer of cabbage rolls the same way on top of the others. Continue until all the cabbage rolls are used up and finish by pouring the remaining sauce on top. Cover the casserole tightly and simmer over a very low flame for about 1½ hours.