The Scandinavian Kitchen
by Camilla Plum
The Swedish dish kaldolmar is actually Turkish in origin. It was brought north by the Swedish warrior King Charles XII, who fled to the Ottoman empire after he lost the battle of Poltava, in the Ukraine, against the Russians in 1709. He befriended the Sultan, grew fond of Ottoman food—who wouldn't?—and brought the dolma home with him. This, in time, evolved into our beloved meat-filled parcels wrapped in white cabbage leaves rather than the Turkish vine leaves.
The best accompaniments are lingonberry jam and boiled potatoes. The recipe makes a large amount, but you can either eat it over two days, or freeze half of it (when half-baked).
• 2 well-filled pointed head cabbages or Savoy cabbages
For The Meat Filling
• 4 slices dry sourdough bread, crust removed
• Generous 3/4 cup whole milk
• 2¼ lb ground mixed pork and veal
• 2 tablespoons coarse sea salt
• 4 eggs
• 1¼ cups heavy cream
• 1 onion, chopped
• Grated zest of 1 lemon
• 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
• 1 tablespoon chopped fresh marjoram
• 3 cloves garlic, chopped
• 1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
• 4 tablespoons tomato ketchup
• 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
For The Braise
• 18 oz mixed roots (e.g. celeriac, carrots, and parsley root), chopped
• 2 onions, chopped
• 1 cup stock (veal, chicken, or vegetable)
• 1 cup hard cider
• Juice of 1 lemon
• 3 tablespoons tamari (Japanese soy sauce)
• 1 tablespoon liquid honey
• 1/3 cup butter
For the filling, soften the bread in the milk, then combine all the filling ingredients in a food mixer or large bowl. The longer you mix, the lighter and juicier the filling will be.
Remove any very tough outer leaves from the cabbage, then peel off 20 beautiful leaves more if you can, if the ribs are tough, cut them out with a V-shaped incision. Place the leaves in a large bowl and pour over 6¼ pt of boiling water. Let steep until very pliable, then dry on a clean dish towel.
Put 2-3 spoonfuls of the filling on each leaf fold in the sides, and roll it up, like a little closed parcel If the leaves are too small use two at a time. Repeat until all the filling has been used up
Mix the vegetables for the braise and arrange in one deep ovenproof dish, large enough also to hold all the parcels, or in two smaller dishes. Place the stuffed leaves on top and wiggle them down between the vegetables. Pour over the stock cider and lemon juice then drizzle on the tamari and honey and dot with 1/4 stick of the butter.
Bake at 350°F for about 45 minutes. Baste the rolls with stock every 15 minutes to keep them moist.
When the dolma and vegetables are all cooked, pour off the stock from the dish, into a saucepan and reduce at a high heat. When it is syrupy, remove from the heat and whisk in the remaining butter. Pour over the rolls and serve immediately.