- 100g brown basmati rice
- Salt and pepper
- 1-2 large green cabbages, such as Savoy
- 15g butter
- 8 rashers smoked dry cured streaky bacon, chopped
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 tablesp. chopped thyme leaves
- 2 tablesp. chopped sage
- 1 teasp. paprika
- 250g minced pork
- 250g minced beef
- 450ml vegetable stock
For the sauce:
- 1 small onion
- 4 cloves
- 500ml milk
- 1 bay leaf
- ½ tsp black peppercorns
- 30g butter
- 30g plain flour
- Freshly grated nutmeg
- 200g cheese, thinly sliced
Cover the brown rice in cold water and leave to soak for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, boil the kettle. Drain the rice, tip into a non-stick pan and add 200ml boiling water and a pinch of salt. Bring to the boil, cover and cook over a low heat for 25 minutes. Leave to cool.
For the sauce, stud the onion with the cloves and put into a pan with the milk, bay leaves and peppercorns. Bring to the boil and set aside to infuse with the flavours.
Meanwhile, remove 12 bright green leaves from the outside of the cabbages. Use the remainder of the cabbage for another meal. Drop the leaves into a pan of boiling salted water and cook for 2 minutes. Drain and refresh under cold water. Cut out and discard the thickest part of central stalk.
Melt the butter in a pan, add the bacon and fry until cooked but not browned. Add the onion and garlic and continue to cook for 5-6 minutes until the onion is soft but not browned. Tip into a mixing bowl and leave to cool.
Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 4, 180ºC (350ºF). Add the cooked rice to the onions with the chopped herbs, paprika, minced pork, minced beef, ½ teasp. salt and some black pepper. Mix together well with your hands. Divide the mixture into 12.
Place one portion of the stuffing into the centre of each cabbage leaf, fold in the sides and roll up. Place side-by-side, seam-side down, in a lightly buttered shallow ovenproof dish. Pour over the stock, cover the dish with foil and bake for 30 minutes.
For the sauce, strain the infused milk into a jug. Melt the butter in a pan, add the flour and cook for a few seconds. Remove from the heat and gradually stir in the milk. Return to the heat and bring to the boil, stirring. Simmer for 3-4 minutes. Remove from the heat and season to taste with nutmeg, salt and pepper. Preheat the grill to high.
Drain away any excess stock from the baking dish. Pour the sauce over the cabbage leaves and cover with the sliced cheese. Grill for 2-3 minutes until golden and bubbling. Serve.