Sunday, August 4, 2013

And after all that...Cabbage Rolls

Every time I go to an old fashioned restaurant, I order Cabbage Rolls if I see it on the menu. I love the little packet of veggie wrapped meat covered in a rich tomato sauce. It's plain and simple but so delicious. 

I rarely make Cabbage Rolls myself because it is not the easiest dish in my repertoire of culinary delights. In fact, if you decide to make them as I did this weekend, just go ahead and get out most of the pots, bowls, cutting boards, knives, spoons, etc. You're gonna need all of it. And when I choose a recipe with several steps, I usually try to get a jump on the prep by making the portion of the recipe that allows advance planning. In this case, it's the sauce. That flavorful stuff that gets slathered over the top of the tasty little bundles just before going in the oven. 


1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 chopped onion
2-3 minced garlic cloves
1 large chopped red banana pepper (or 1/2 red bell pepper)
1-28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 cup chicken or vegetable stock
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1-1/2 teaspoons Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Softening the aromatics

Cookin' low and slow
Butter and olive oil in the pot warmed to a bubbling sizzle; next the onion, garlic and banana pepper cooked until translucent and soft. Add the tomatoes, stock, brown sugar and cider vinegar. Allow the pot to come up to a medium/high heat, stir well but then reduce to a simmer. Cook until it has reduced somewhat, taste for salt or any other seasoning you would like to add. Please your palate, I always say. When the sauce is just right, remove and cool. Pour into a bowl and place it in the fridge until needed.

Rolling Material:

1 head of cabbage
1-2 cups water

Remove any discolored leaves from the outside and core the cabbage with a small paring knife. Rinse under cool water.

Add the water to a pot and lightly salt. Place the cabbage core side down in the pot and steam about 8 to 10 minutes. Do not overdo this step, we're not cooking it, simply getting it softened and easy to roll.
In the pot steaming away.

Rinse with cool tap water in order to handle the disassembling. Careful, it's very hot.

My bowl of leaves ready to begin the filling.


1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 medium chopped onion
1 chopped banana pepper (or 1/2 green bell pepper)
2 minced garlic cloves
1 to 1-1/2 cups par-cooked rice
1 to 1-1/2 pounds of ground round beef
1/2 pound ground pork sausage (a good tasty one)
2 eggs
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon celery seed

Cook the rice until it's about half-done. In pasta terms, al dente. Add the butter and olive oil to a pan and heat until the butter is melted. Add the onion, banana pepper and garlic and cook until softened. Into a large mixing bowl add the ground round and pork sausage and mix well. This will probably require using your hands. Add the rice and mix once more. Break the eggs into the bowl and add the remaining ingredients. Mix well and set aside until you begin rolling.
These are leftover leaves or pieces that I used to line the bottom of the baking pan.
As a clean work surface, I laid a long piece of waxed paper on my butcher block. I love waxed paper and use it so often for things such as this. 
I do not remove the stem of the cabbage leaf, but rather trim it down until it's flat. Way better idea; it makes it much easier to roll up.

Meat filling into the center of the cabbage leaf.

Fold up the bottom of the leaf.

Then both sides.

Then the top of the leaf.

Now, how easy was that?

Big ole pan of cabbage rolls. Did I mention this makes enough to feed a small country?

The sauce from the fridge ready to pour over the rolls.

Before baking and gorgeous. Cover with aluminum foil and place into a preheated oven at 350 degrees for about 2 hours.

After baking and gorgeous and delicious.

Best served with creamy, dreamy mashed potatoes. Where's my fork and knife!

No comments:

Post a Comment