Ah, cabbage rolls. The thought of them brings back a lot of memories. My mother has made cabbage rolls as long as I can remember.
And as long as she has made them, I have picked them apart and only eaten the beef stuffing. *grin*
I was never a big fan, but at least they were easy to pry apart and the cabbage was easy to disregard. (Granted, that was until she started making Lazy Cabbage Rolls which were a mix of all the same ingredients, just with the cabbage chopped up…creating more of a stew. Very difficult for this stubborn child to separate meat from greens…but I managed. It would take me awhile…but I did it!)
Anyway, since my Changing of the Buds post, where I considered how my food preferences have changed over the years, I have thought about my mother’s cabbage rolls and whether those too would have now migrated to my list of ‘acceptable’ food.
So, the other day I called my mother and asked for her recipe. I figured I’d try making them, the experience alone would be worth it, and if I didn’t like them, B said he would eat them…so it was a win-win situation!
Turned out it wasn’t a completely foolproof plan.
I made them, had fun doing it, tasted them, loved them…and now I still have to share with B. 🙂 It would seem I didn’t think this through completely. *wink*
Okay, so enough rambling…Let’s get into this Goth Cabbage Roll adventure, shall we?
What’s that?….Ohhhh, you’re wondering about the ‘Goth’ part of this equation, are you?
Let me clarify.
Yeah…the store only had purple cabbage and I thought, “What the heck? They’ll be different!” They most certainly were. My kitchen was different too for the experience. Sort of a blue-purple colour before it was all over.
So, to begin…
DEALING WITH THE CABBAGE
I cored my cabbage. Sort of. Semi-cored…or more accurately, quarter-cored…is that even a word? I cut around the core and created a hole about an inch deep.
Then I had to decide how to cook it. I knew the idea was to cook it to the point that I could peel off the softened leaves fold/roll them. I looked for cooking suggestions online and saw numerous references to boiling it. Unfortunately, my pots were all too small so I decided to try roasting it in the oven.
I put it in a roasting pan with about an inch or so of water and put it in the oven…at 350 degrees. Upon checking it, about 30-40 minutes later, all I found was that the top was starting to burn so I nixed that idea.
Eventually, I returned to the boiling idea. I put it in my less than adequate pot with water and starting boiling it, turning it fairly often so all sides would soften. It took awhile, and a lot of turning…not to mention good eye-hand coordination, two forks to turn it, a lovely blue-purple mist all over my stove and counter, and several near-miss burns.
I actually had fun preparing this dish, believe it or not, but it was a lot of work.
Big Cabbage...Lil' Pot
Getting the heat going
Separated Leaves...oh and a lovely mess!
As the leaves separated from the cabbage body, I placed them in another pan to cool
Allowing the leaves to cool before handling
To make things even more complicated…while the boiling was going on , I created the ground beef mixture.
I put on my rice (no pic) and chopped up my onion.
This mixture was the easy part. I based it on my meatloaf recipe with the addition of cooked rice and some tomato soup, which my mother’s Cabbage Roll recipe called for.
Stuffing: ground beef, onion, egg, spices
Completed Stuffing: added cooked rice, tomato soup
Now we come to the fun part! I’m sure there are many ways to fold a cabbage roll. It some cases, I ended up using toothpicks to hold a couple of them closed.
Step Five – My first Cabbage Roll!
Once you’ve folded them all, fit them into a casserole dish. I found I had to pin a few with toothpicks to ensure they would stay closed.
Pour your sauce overtop of the rolls…they should be fairly covered.
Once they are ready, I simply baked them in the oven for about an hour! They smelled SO good…and tasted even better!!
Stuffing (similar to a meatloaf recipe)
- 2 lbs Ground beef
- 1 onion
- 1 egg
- ¾ cup of rice
- Salt and pepper
- Lipton onion soup mix
- ½ cup tomato soup
- Garlic (used powder)
- 2 cans spaghetti sauce Dilute it with water
- garlic powder
- used a generic Ms Dash seasoning to add flavour
Put on your cabbage and rice at the same time. They are many ways to prepare rice. Here’s how I do it: I put the rice in a pot, and then I put water so that it covers the rice about 3/4” of an inch deep. I usually measure it with the fingertip section of my index finger. I bring it to a boil, and then leave it on min/simmer for about 20 minutes. If all goes well, at 20 minutes there is no water left, just rice.
Head of cabbage
- Cut out root, about an inch or more deep and place the cabbage in a pot with water.
- Bring water to a boil.
- I had a small pot and had to keep rotating the cabbage. Whether you have to do that or not, remove leaves as they soften and fall off the cabbage. Set them aside to cool. (Soft leaves: They should be limp enough to roll but not too limp as to be soggy)
- For filling, combine ground beef, chopped onion, egg, rice, salt and pepper, onion soup mix, tomato soup, garlic.
- Place a portion into the center of each cabbage leaf. I put two heaping spoonfuls per leaf. Roll leaf around filling; if needed, fasten with toothpick. Place in a baking dish. (Check out my Edible Noir blog for folding photos)
- For sauce, combine tomato sauce, thyme, garlic powder, pepper, any other seasonings you wish, and pour over cabbage rolls. They should be just covered.
Set oven to 350. Bake covered for an hour.