Chop the onion, bell pepper and celery into ½ inch pieces. In a large stainless steel pot, saute the vegetables in the oil over medium heat until translucent. Peel, seed and chop the tomatoes (I just core them and put them in the blender so we get the vitamins from the skins). Add tomatoes and parsley to the vegetables and cook covered over low heat for 20 minutes. Remove parsley sprigs. Season with ¼ cup brown sugar, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Cook for 10 minutes longer and taste for seasoning. Add more sugar or salt, to taste. Keep warm until ready to serve. (At this point, I added a small amount of cornstarch to thicken the sauce.)
In a 2-quart pot of boiling water, blanch the cabbage leaves until wilted; drain and cool. In a saute pan over medium heat, sweat the onion in butter. Add peas and water, cover for 2-3 minutes. Remove cover and cool slightly. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, blend the mashed potatoes with eggs. Stir in the onion and pea mixture. Salt and pepper generously. Flatten a cabbage leaf, cutting out any thick, unpliable stem. Place a generous ½ cup of potato mixture in the center of two leaves laid to overlap. Pull the leaves together, forming a pouch and tie with 2 chives. Just before serving, reheat the pouches for approximately 15 minutes in a steamer or a shallow pan of boiling water. Place each pouch on a plate covered with the warm stewed tomatoes.
These purses go nicely with grilled English-style sausages or bratwurst. A sprinkling of grated cheddar cheese on top is a perfect complement to this dish. The flavors of the potatoes, cabbage and stewed tomatoes are as rustic as the presentation of this dish.
Publishers, San Francisco, 1994.
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