Vegetarian Cabbage Rolls of Wheat Berries, Mushrooms and Vegetables

A recent find in the Saanich farmlands, this spectacular Savoy definitely needs its own chair. What a beauty. And what an inspiration for cabbage rolls.
The main grain consisted of 1 cup of wheat berries – from last year’s crop of winter wheat – cooked in two cups of water. I then chopped and sauteed chanterelles, white mushrooms, garlic, onions, the stalks from some chard,  a couple of celery sticks, thyme, salt and pepper, and added tiny cubes of squash at the last – not sauteed.

Wheat berries meet your medley.

I pulled off all the cabbage leaves I could before getting to the core that is more condensed. Blanch the leaves in hot boiling water, one by one and let cool.  Cut the hard core of the leaves away, leaving you with two leaf halves. Stack those and keep them at the ready.
Get ready to roll. Add a good lusty spoonful to the bottom of each leave half.
Roll and fold in the edges.
Place the rolls in an orderly fashion in a deep casserole dish lined with a layer of tomato sauce. Oh yes, the tomato sauce. Classic cabbage rolls are cooked this way and I made a reduced sauce of whole tomatoes, onions and garlic and used a hand blender to produce a luscious puree.

Once the layer is complete, cover with some more sauce and repeat until you use all the cabbage rolls up. Cover the rolls with the leftover leaves. They will help hold in all the goodness while cooking.
Pour the sauce all over the dish.

Cover with tin foil and bake at 350 degrees for one to two hours. The wheat berries are good here as they are hard kernels and can withstand long cooking without going mushy, unlike rice.
If you can’t stand the idea of no meat in the rolls, compensate with a quick saute of onions, double smoked bacon and chanterelles.

Smoky bacon, freshly picked chanterelles, robust tomato sauce, long cooked cabbage, this is hearty winter fare at its finest.

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