Boeuf a la Russe

A tasty, inexpensive dinner dish, Boeuf a la Russe (berf ah lah roose) must be made with good quality beef. Serve it hot as a main dish or cold as a first course.

1 cabbage

1 lb. lean minced beef tomatoes, blanched, peeled and finely chopped

2 tablespoons uncooked rice juice and grated rind of

½ lemon

½ teaspoon dried mixed herbs

½ teaspoon salt

2 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper

5 tablespoons cooking oil

1 onion, finely chopped

1 garlic clove, crushed

½ teaspoon dried basil

1 lb. tomatoes, blanched, peeled and chopped or

14 oz. canned Italian peeled tomatoes, drained and chopped

½ teaspoon salt -½ teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper

1 teaspoon sugar

Trim the tough outer leaves from the cabbage. Place a large pan of water on high heat and, when it is boiling, put the cabbage in. Boil it for 4 minutes. Lift out the cabbage and drain it in a colander. When the cabbage is cool enough to handle, carefully detach the leaves and set them aside on a plate.

Put the minced beef in a medium-sized bowl with the tomatoes, rice, lemon juice and grated rind, the mixed herbs, salt and pepper. Mix well with your hands and shape into small sausages.

Wrap each meat sausage in a cabbage leaf. Make a neat parcel and tie with thread. Cover and set aside.

To make the sauce, heat

2 tablespoons of oil in a small saucepan over moderate heat. Put in the onion and fry gently until it is soft and turning brown. Add the crushed garlic and basil and cook for 1 minute. Put in the tomatoes, salt, pepper and sugar. Stir, cover, lower the heat and simmer for 35 to 40 minutes.

In a large, heavy pot, heat the remaining 3 tablespoons of oil over moderate heat. When the oil is hot, put in the cabbage rolls. When they are slightly brown, turn them over and brown them on the other side. Pour the tomato sauce over the cabbage rolls. Cover the pot, lower the heat and simmer for 1 hour.

Cut and remove the thread from the cabbage rolls. Put them in a warmed serving dish. Pour the sauce over them and serve immediately.

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