Cabbage and meatballs come together in this Ashke-phardic dish – The Jewish News of Northern California

Posted By on March 10, 2021

Tender red cabbage and golden sauted onions make a savory bed for meatballs drizzled with tahini sauce in this Shabbat dinner dish that mixes Jewish culinary traditions.

Cabbage has been cultivated since ancient times. Several of todays most popular varieties (including red cabbage) were developed in medieval Germany. Hearty, plentiful and inexpensive, cabbage became a mainstay of Eastern European Jewish foodways and a component of other Jewish cuisines.

Ive added Sephardic and Mizrahi touches to add flavor and depth to this Ashkenazi staple, plus tahini sauce to add an earthy creaminess. I like to use half lamb and half beef for the meatballs.

Prepare tahini sauce (see below) and set aside.

In a large bowl, mix lamb, tsp. salt, tsp. pepper, tsp. paprika, tsp. cumin, oregano and garlic powder. Stir in egg and 1 Tbs. tomato paste. Mix well. Form into compact 1-inch balls. Set aside.

In a large, deep 12-inch skillet, heat 2 Tbs. oil over medium-high heat. Add onions, tsp. salt and tsp. black pepper. Saut until onions are soft and golden brown, about 12 to 15 minutes. Remove to a large bowl. Do not wipe out the pan.

Add 1 Tbs. oil, if needed, to skillet. Fry meatballs over medium-high heat until browned and just cooked through (about 5 to 6 minutes per batch); meatballs should be firm but springy and have no pink inside when cut. Remove meatballs to bowl with onions.

Reheat pan, adding 1 Tbs. oil if needed. Saut garlic 1 to 2 minutes until golden over medium-high heat. Add cabbage and teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring often, until cabbage begins to wilt (about 12 to 15 minutes). Stir in cup water, 1 Tbs. tomato paste and tsp. cumin. Cover and steam cabbage until very soft (about 15 to 20 minutes), stirring occasionally. Add water by the cup as needed.

Stir in tsp. salt, tsp. sugar, dried mint, sumac, red pepper, tsp. paprika, tsp. ground cumin and 1 Tbs. tomato paste and cup water. Cook uncovered until pan is dry. Taste. Add more salt and/or pepper as desired, and the remaining tsp. sugar (or to taste) if cabbage is bitter. Stir in cup water. Once the water is simmering, add onions and meatballs. Stir well. Cover and cook for 5 to 6 minutes until meatballs are warmed and liquid has thickened. Serve immediately drizzled with tahini sauce and garnished with dill.

Tahini sauce: In a medium bowl, stir together 1 tsp. minced garlic, tsp. salt, 1 Tbs. plus 1 tsp. lemon juice and cup cold water. Stir in cup tahini paste. Mixture will seize, but keep stirring, adding cold water by the teaspoon until sauce is the consistency of a smooth, loose frosting. Taste. Add salt, tahini and/or lemon juice as needed.

Notes: A small red cabbage is 1 to 1 lbs. Or use half of a medium-large (2 to 2 lbs.) cabbage. Make up to 3 days ahead (without sauce and dill). Reheat, covered, in 350-degree oven.

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Cabbage and meatballs come together in this Ashke-phardic dish - The Jewish News of Northern California

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