Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Cabbage Rolls

Cabbage: you are a vegetable I have grown to love in life. You are so versatile; so tasty. And the way your inner leaves weave around inside when I cut you in half make me happy.

My mom used to make cabbage rolls all the time. When I was a kid, I would take off all the cabbage and eat the meat inside with copious amounts of ketchup. To this day, I still use copious amounts of ketchup on my cabbage rolls but now I very much enjoy the cabbage and the *secret ingredient* as well. Mom's cabbage rolls are always a big hit and I have myself brought them to many pot lucks by request. I guess at one point she got sick of making them for me all the time so she showed me how to do it. And now, I can bring to you, the cabbage rolls of my youth.

Mom, I am sorry to be sharing your recipe here online. But every time I make them, people ask me, no Beg me, for the recipe. So I am going to type that motherfucker out for everyone. Now I have a place I can send them to when they say "OMG those look so good can I please have the recipe??!!" You, dear reader, just may be reading this because I have sent you here. So, please forgive my lack of pictures. Please forgive my flowery writing style. It makes a difference when you are trying to explain such things as cutting the stalk part out of a leaf, when you can't show someone in real life. So saddle up my future cabbage rollers! Here, we embark on adventure :)


One head of regular or flat cabbage
Ground beef, approx 1lb or more depending on size of cabbage

Minute rice, or cooked regular rice
Can of mushroom pieces, drained, or some fresh diced mushrooms
Green Pepper, diced
Onion, diced
Worchestershire Sauce
One egg
Garlic powder
Salt and Pepper to taste
Can of Heinz tomato juice (large can)
Medium to large jar of sauerkraut

Get a big pot of water boiling. Cut downwards into the cabbage around the stem, to loosen the leaves from the stem. Stick it in the boiling water. Let that sit for a bit. In the meantime, mix the meat, and all the other ingredients (not including the tomato juice and sauerkraut) in a big bowl. Mix it up real good. Now your cabbage leaves should be getting ready. Make sure they are cooked well or you might have crunchy cabbage rolls. Take a layer off at a time, three leaves usually, or more if they seem cooked. On a cutting board, cut in a V shape, the thick stem part off of the leaf, so that it isn't tough and thick. Take a handful of the meat mixture, roll it a bit, then fit it in the stem half of the leaf. Tucking in the sides, roll it up nice and tight. Place in a roasting pan, and continue on until the pan is full. You may need to layer, especially if you do two heads of cabbage at once (which I recommend because you can freeze them!) Once you have everything rolled, you cover it with sauerkraut and then tomato juice. Sometimes you may need more juice than is in one can. I find that minute rice sucks up moisture but pre-cooked rice doesn't so it needs less juice. Cook for 3-4 hours, covered, at 350. Check periodically to make sure they aren't drying out. if they are, add more juice. Serve with sour cream or ketchup!

Sometimes my cabbage rolls drip so make sure to have a pan or something under your roaster to catch the drippings. Also, you can use pork in these as well but we always used straight up hamburger. There are many versions of this recipe out there, but this one is the most flavourful one I have ever had. I do swear by the Heinz tomato juice, and do use their saurkraut as well but any sauerkraut will do!

As for the rice, I use more if I need more meat mixture, or if the mix seems too wet and sticky. Usually for one batch I use 3/4-1 cup.

Happy Rolling!!!