Thursday, February 7, 2008

Recipe: Greek Cabbage and Rice (Λαχανόρυζο)

This week Alaska held its presidential caucuses. My caucus site was a zoo; people were packed like sardines into the available space. In Anchorage, you rarely see crowds like this and I’ve never seen more Alaskans gathered for a political event.

Traffic was jammed up for miles; we parked at a shopping center across the way. With temperatures hovering around -10°F, the hatless walk between the shopping center and the caucus site was invigorating. The tops of my ears were complaining bitterly.

An amazing aspect of the event was the attendees’ joviality. Despite traffic jams, freezing weather, overflow crowds, delays, and the general disorganization that occurs when too many people are packed into too small a space, everyone seemed happy and excited to be present.

The opposing camps in my district laughed and joked together as we were sorted and counted. No matter how the primaries ultimately turn out, the engaged and enthusiastic crowds seemed a promising omen for the general election in November.

When I got home from politicking, I was past ready for dinner and wanted something to ward off the subzero weather. I happily dug into a bowl of leftover Greek Cabbage and Rice. I had originally served the Cabbage and Rice as an accompaniment to Grilled Pork Steak, a recipe in Tastes Like Home: Mediterranean Cooking in Alaska.

Cabbage and Rice is flavored with onions and tomato paste. These savory flavors, paired with sweet dried currants, turn Cabbage and Rice into a filling vegetarian main course. For meat eaters, it is equally tasty served as a side dish with pork or chicken.

Greek Cabbage and RiceGreek Cabbage and Rice (Λαχανόρυζο)
Serves 2 - 3 as a main course, or 4 - 6 as a side dish

1 small green cabbage (about 2 pounds)
3 cups diced onions, 1/2” dice
1/4 cup olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
3 Tbsp. tomato paste
1 Tbsp. dried thyme, crushed
2 cups water, divided
1/2 cup rice
1/4 cup dried currants

Discard any tough or damaged outside cabbage leaves. Cut the cabbage into quarters; cut out and discard the core. Cut the cabbage quarters crosswise into 1/2” strips.

In a pan large enough to hold all the ingredients, sauté the onions, lightly seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper, in olive oil until they soften and start to turn golden. Stir in the cabbage, lightly season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, and cook until the cabbage wilts. Stir in the tomato paste and dried thyme and cook for 1 minute. Stir in 1 1/2 cups water, bring to a boil, cover, reduce the heat, and simmer for 20 minutes.

Stir in the rice, dried currants, and remaining 1/2 cup water. Cover and cook over low heat for 20 minutes or until the rice is done. Serve immediately.

This is my entry for Weekend Herb Blogging, hosted this week by Ulrike from Kuchenlatein.


Peter M said...

Us Greeks in the north use alot of cabbage and saurkraut, so I can appreciate this dish. We also add some smoked paprika.

Love the currants in yours too!

Anonymous said...

I love this Laurie. My mum makes it with the addition of cinnamon. Similar to "spanakorizo". Nice pictures.

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

Yum! I know I should eat more cabbage, but beyond making stuffed cabbage and cole slaw, and the occasional stir fry, I really don't cook with it very much. Will bookmark and try this recipe.

pam said...

This sounds so good! I am always looking for ways to turn rice into a more exciting side dish.

Mike of Mike's Table said...

I had come into this post not so enthused as I'm not so keen on cabbage, but you won me over immediately with the photo. This dish looks awesome and could make a cabbage convert out of me.

Lisa Turner said...


I'm really glad I found your blog. You really have a way with food. Thanks for yet another delicious recipe.

ostwestwind said...

Thank you for your WHB submission. Your dish looks very inviting to me.

Ulrike from Küchenlatein

Laurie Constantino said...

Peter M, there you go taunting me with that smoked paprika again!

Peter G, I do like it with cinnamon but, alas, my husband does not. It's still good though!

Lydia, yes, one of the reasons I really like this is it gets me to eat more cabbage.

Pam, the Greeks have a whole range of really good rice dishes - and I like every one of them!

Wow, Mike - making a cabbage convert would be quite a coup! The onions in this balance the cabbage flavors in a very good way. (PS - I started my preserved lemons today - thanks for the inspiration!)

Lisa, thank you very much for the encouragement - so glad you are visiting!

Ulrike, thanks for hosting!

LisaRene said...

Wonderful healthy dish! I'm intrigued by the addition of currants.

the chocolate doctor מרת שאקאלאד said...

Oh, this is completely new to me! I will certainly want to try this.

Katie Zeller said...

I love cabbage - such a versatile vegetable... Which it has to be since the cabbage is big and we are only two!
Sounds like your caucus was very entertaining..
We get such a different view of everything here.

the chocolate doctor מרת שאקאלאד said...

Hi, me again,

I am guessing that is 1/4 cup dried currants, not 1/4 pound, right?

Laurie Constantino said...

LisaRene, the currants really make this dish special.

Chocolate Lady, thanks! And yes, it is 1/4 cup dried currants - I've made the correction. Thanks for correctly channeling what I meant by 1/4 dried currants!

Katie, you've accurately described my cabbage dilemma in a two person household! The difference in news coverage in the US and Europe is very interesting. I read the Greek papers pretty much everyday online, and get a completely different world view than that available in the US. It's why I like reading both1

Kalyn Denny said...

Oh I'm so happy to see that I'm not the only one who mistypes and gets corrections from the comments! This does sound just wonderful. I just love cabbage, so I'm saving the recipe.

the chocolate doctor מרת שאקאלאד said...

Hi again! I made it and it is DELICIOUS!! thanks so much. I used brown rice and added it earlier so it could cook longer. Will blog as soon as I can--huge backlog--in everything, not just the blog. Ah, life! At least I have some great cabbage to eat.

Laurie Constantino said...

Chocolate lady, I'm so glad you liked it! I just posted another recipe you might also like: Potato Pie with Cabbage and Mustard -

LeoNazDo said...

hey Laurie, thanks a lot really, it looks delicious, got to try it :D

an advice for everyone, don't ever use pork meat, I've seen an unbelievable scientific video (ask me for the link if u like) abt it's contents, yukkkk can't forget it, and since then I've never brought any to my home.

thx again Laurie...
have a nice day everyone.