Monday, December 26, 2011

Stuffed Cabbage

I'm on a Polish food cooking kick these days...earlier this week, I tried my hand at kotlet grzyby (mushroom cutlet) and of course I have eaten plenty of kapusta this holiday.  Today's creation is golabki, commonly called stuffed cabbage or cabbage rolls.  When we were kids, we always called them cabbage "trolls" or "pigs in a blanket" and my mom made hers Campbell's tomato soup and her "secret ingredient" she used in almost all of her cooking....Lipton's French onion soup mix.  She would make them in the pressure cooker, but it's not really required.  They will cook up well in the oven or in a slow cooker.   Here's how I make them...make sure to season with enough salt and lots of fresh ground pepper.    When I was a kid, I would eat mine "naked" - I'd peel off the cooked cabbage, but I love cooked cabbage now.   I'd recommend doing that still for kids or adults that don't share the cooked cabbage love.  

Makes enough for at 4-6 people

1 medium head cabbage
2 onions, chopped fine
2 T butter
2 lb ground beef or 1 1/2  lb ground beef plus 1/2 lb ground pork or veal
1 cup rice
2 eggs
2 large cans tomato sauce - preferably no salt added
salt and pepper

Remove core from cabbage and scald the cabbage in boiling water to soften the leaves.  Remove cabbage a few leaves at a time, cutting away any tough stems.   Put cabbage back in the water to scald if the inner leaves are still hard.   Let cool.

Meanwhile, saute onion in butter until soft.  Do not brown.   Parboil rice in 2 quarts of rapidly boiling hot water for 10 minutes, drain.    Mix onion, rice, ground meat, eggs and half a can of tomato sauce for the filling.  Add at least 2 teaspoons coarse salt salt and plenty of pepper.    Fill leaves with meat and rice filling, rolling leaves around meat to make a small package.  Place seam side down in a large crock pot.   Pour remaining tomato sauce on top of stuffed cabbage leaves, add salt and pepper to taste. Cook on high for about 4 hours (or low for 8 hours).   Adjust seasonings.  Serve stuffed cabbage with tomato sauce spooned on top.


Vivienne said...

I love cabbage rolls from every nationality (that I've tried so far) - they are one of those dishes that are served in many modifications. I understand that among households from European Jewish background, there is a controversy between "sweet" and "sour".

I notice these are not very highly seasoned - almost no seasoning apart from onions, salt and pepper. Also interested that you cook the rice (twice!) before rolling up the mixture - but actually rice in cabbage rolls cooked for hours may be added raw; it will absorb liquid.

Cynthia said...

I am glad that you noticed I typed saute the "rice" in butter, and then parboil it. That was actually a typo which I's the onion that gets sauteed. You are right that they are not highly seasoned. Polish comfort food at its best!

Maggie said...

As far as I know my grandma's secret ingredient was ketchup and like you I always ate mine naked. Sadly I haven't made them myself, yet.

Stevie said...

Have you ever tried freezing the cabbage instead of boiling it?

Cynthia said...

I have heard of it, but have never tried it. Have you?