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Save tough cabbage leaves from the compost by turning them into a pie – recipe | Food

Alissa Timoshkina’s layered cabbage pie (golubsty) is an awesome, one-pot dish that makes an impressive yet modest centrepiece; it’s also a brilliant way to use up tough outer cabbage leaves and leftover rice. Alissa, who with Olia Hercules co-founded the #cookforukraine initiative, uses dill or parsley in the mix, adding: “This dish works really well with just the stalks. And if your herbs aren’t all that fresh, put them in at the very start – the stalks soften and the flavour gets quite intense.”

Vegetarian golubtsy (for the very lazy)

I’ve written this recipe in support of the #CookforUkraine initiative – please visit its JustGiving page to get involved with the effort to make food a force for fundraising.

Alissa calls her pie “for the lazy” because it takes all the effort out of stuffing and rolling individual cabbage leaves. M vegetarian version is simplified even further, making it both a perfect midweek meal and an easy dish to add to a celebratory dinner. Leftover cooked rice makes it very quick and simple to prepare. Larger outer cabbage leaves, which are often discarded, make great golubtsy, layered as an alternative to pastry, as they are here, or stuffed, as in the traditional recipe.

Serves 4 as part of a spread

6-7 outer cabbage leaves
Salt and black pepper
1 tbsp vegetable oil
, plus extra for greasing
1 small onion
, peeled and diced
1 carrot, trimmed and grated
250g mushrooms, minced
3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
1 tsp smoked paprika
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
½ tsp chilli flakes
250g cooked rice
, or buckwheat
2 tbsp tomato puree
6 dill fronds
Soured cream and rye breadcrumbs
, to serve

Blanch the cabbage leaves in salted boiling water for 10 minutes, until soft, then carefully lift out and drain. Use three of the leaves to line the base and sides of an oiled, heavy-based, 20cm frying pan.

To make the filling, gently fry the onion, carrot and mushrooms in a tablespoon of vegetable oil for 10 minutes, until they begin to caramelise. Stir in the garlic, smoked paprika, nutmeg and chilli flakes, cook for a few minutes, then add the cooked rice, the tomato puree and two tablespoons of water.

Finely chop the thicker ends of the dill fronds, stir into the mix, then bring to a boil and season; add a touch more water if the mixture seems dry.

Scrape the filling mix into the cabbage-lined pan, then use the remaining blanched cabbage leaves to make a lid, tucking them in around the edges to create a seal. Drizzle with a little more oil, place a weight on top (a plate or smaller pan will do), then cook gently over a low heat for 30 minutes, until the bottom has caramelised.

Turn out the pie on to a large plate and serve hot or cold with soured cream, the frilly dill tops and a scattering of rye breadcrumbs.