Saturday, May 5, 2012

Repollo en Nogada... esque

Something about Cinco de Mayo, Derby and Caps v. Rangers playoff got me in the mood for something completely eclectic but fused from these 3 events taking place today. Earlier this week I had bought some savoy cabbage, thinking I might do a lightened version of the traditional Eastern European dish of stuffed cabbage, but having been absolutely exhausted this past week with apartment hunting (and more on that soon), I've been doing terrible things like ordering in and eating out.

Today though, while out running errands, being Cinco de Mayo it made me think of chile en nogada... considered to be the national dish of Mexico and I thought, why not make it with cabbage, "repollo" in Spanish? Making a complete generalization here I figured there are more than a couple hockey players that come out of Eastern Europe(perhaps I'm reaching a little here),  and if I soaked the raisins in some bourbon it would give it a Kentucky twist. So there you have it... Cinco de Mayo Derby NHL Playoff repollo en nogada... esque.

And instead of the traditional shredded pork and beef I used ground white meat turkey. A few spices here, some blanched almonds and bourbon soaked raisins (for the Derby aspect of the dish), and then a sauce that's not quite a walnut sauce but a delicious rendition of a Tex Mex style green sauce made instead with almonds, avocado, lime, queso fresco, tomatillos and roasted jalapenos... it was pretty darn fabulous. Cabbage is a great vessel to get some greens in for any dish that's traditionally made with tortillas... cabbage burritos, enchiladas verdes, fajitas, etc, as they make the perfect cup.
This recipe definitely makes enough for 4-5 servings. Great for freezing back or a big dinner
Repollo en Nogada...esque
1 savoy cabbage
1 Tbl. olive oil
1 lb. ground white meat turkey
1 small red onion- sliced
2 cloves garlic- minced
1 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 c. golden raisins
1/4 c. bourbon
1/2 c. blanched almonds
Salt to taste

Optional: I threw in a chopped up guajillo pepper. You can skip this or use chipotle, ancho, etc

1. Preheat oven to 375. Carefully remove the leaves from the cabbage, trying to keep them as intact as possible. In a large pot heat water and carefully blanch the leaves until they're soft and pliable, about 1-2 minutes. Remove and cover with a damp paper towel. Reserve 1 cup of the cooking liquid.

2. In a small bowl let the raisins soak in the bourbon. In a saute pan heat oil until hot but not smoking. Add in the onions and cook until soft. Add in the turkey, garlic, spices, oregano and pepper and saute until completely cooked through. Add in the raisins with the bourbon, any leftover liquid cook off and then add the almonds. Taste for salt and remove from heat.

3. Spoon the turkey mixture into one leaf of cabbage and roll slightly like a taco. Top with another leaf and place in a baking dish. Continue this until all leaves and/or turkey mixture is gone.

2 tomatillos
1 clove garlic
1 avocado
1 roasted jalapeno- de-seeded and stemmed
1/4 c. blanched almonds
1/4 c. queso fresco
1/3 c. fat free sour cream
1 c. reserved water from blanching cabbage
Salt to taste

1. Add the first 7 ingredients in a food processor and blend until completely combined. While processing slowly add in the reserved water until the sauce is smooth and creamy- could use more or less than 1 cup.

2. Pour mixture over the baking dish with the cabbage rolls. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes. Top with chopped queso fresco and serve.

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