This is going to be the most challenging and messy dish I’ve ever prepared but also the most rewarding. Named after the French word for a drum, a timbale is a deep, baked dish wrapped in anything from slices of eggplant to phyllo pastry. For my vegan timbale, I used sheets of cabbage as the casing for a hearty veggie ragu. It’s ideal for events or gatherings with friends and family, served with other sauces, veggies, and salad. It might need a little extra patience and some multi-tasking, but I guarantee your loved ones will lick all their fingers after tasting this savory and unique food.
Rice Timbale With Cabbage & Veggie Ragu
- 350 g rice
- 150 g lentil
- 1/2 cabbage
- 1 small celery, chopped
- 1 small red onion, diced
- 1 large bay leaf
- 2 clove
- 1 medium carrot, sliced
- 1 clove garlic
- 500 ml tomato puree
- ground black pepper, sea salt
- extra virgin olive oil
1. Chop finely the carrot, onion, garlic and celery and gently fry them in a tablespoon
of olive oil in a saucepan.
2. Add the well washed lentils and, cook for about a 1 minute.
3. Pour the tomato puree to the veggies, add salt and cook for around 40 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, in a pot, bring to a boil 2 liters of water with a teaspoon of salt, clove, a pinch of ground black pepper and bay leaf.
5. Tear the cabbage into leaves. For 5 minutes, cook the cabbage leaves in this aromatic broth and drain them after 3 minutes. Keep them aside.
6. Cut the central part of the cabbage into strips and add it to the ragu in the last 10 minutes of cooking.
7. In another sauce pan, cook the rice for about 12 minutes in the remaining broth of the cabbage. You just need double amount of broth of the rice. I used a cup to measure the rice and then the broth. The rice will have to remain rather al dente (halfly cooked) and moist.
8. Oil a timbale mold, pour a little ragu sauce in the bottom, cover with the leaves of cabbage, then layer half of the rice, cover with ragu, then rice again, close the timbale with the leaves of the cabbage and sprinkle it with a little olive oil.
9. Place the mold in pre-heated oven at 200C for 20 minutes and serve the timbale after letting it rest for at least 15 minutes. It needs to cool down to keep the shape.
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Photo: Imola Toth