I am always the one whipping up new, crazy dishes in my kitchen. Some roommate will undoubtedly walk though at ask what is that? What are you making? And for once I said, "I am not cooking". The new boyfriend was, and he got to answer all of their questions about the cabbage rolls he was assembling. I have to say, nothing gains more points in my book than showing up with a bag of groceries and a new recipe in mind for dinner. Well, new recipe to me, his family has been making cabbage rolls for as long as he can remember. One of those great recipes passed down from a grandmother changing a touch with each generation as they teach their children how to make it. But I have never made or eaten cabbage rolls. So for once I sat back and observed. Well, really I hovered and took notes and photos but I had to keep myself busy somehow.
I don't exactly know where these cabbage rolls can claim their heritage from. With extensive research I learned that the cabbage roll is a traditional dish from many countries including Croatia, Russia, Sweden and Ukraine. They all vary slightly country to county but the idea and the spirit of the dish is the same. We continued the hearty-cold-winter spirit of this dish by pairing it with roasted potatoes, carrots and beets. Yes, I know it is July, but this is Seattle, it has been raining. Eat accordingly.
Cabbage Rolls from Austin Dennis
yield: 12 to 15 cabbage rolls
1 head of green cabbage
2 pounds of lean ground beef
1 1/2 cups of cooked white rice
1 half of an onion, finely diced
3 cloves of garlic, finely diced
1 28oz can of diced tomatoes in juice
Salt and pepper
Optional spices: oregano, thyme, red pepper flakes, paprika
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees fahrenheit.
2. Place the cabbage in a large pot of water, bring to a boil. Let the cabbage cook for 10 to 15 minutes until the outer leaves are cooked and easy to separate. When the cabbage appears tender, delicately pour in into a colander and rinse with cold water to cool it off.
3. Remove 12 to 15 leaves from the cabbage and cut out the center ribs from each leaf. Set aside.
4. In a large bowl combine the ground beef, rice, eggs, onion and garlic. Season with salt, pepper and any other seasonings you have around that sound delicious.
5. Assemble the rolls. Place a single leaf on a clean surface. Take a small handful of the ground beef mixture and place it at the top of the cabbage leaf, roll the top of the leaf almost 1/2 of the way down to the bottom of the leaf, fold in the sides and then roll all of the way up. Place in a 12-inch x 8-inch casserole dish. Continue rolling until all of the meat mixture has been used up.
6. In a medium size bowl, smash up the diced tomatoes and season them with salt, pepper and any other seasonings you have around that sound delicious. Pour evenly over the assembled cabbage rolls.
7. Place the cabbage rolls in the oven for an hour, cut one open to see if the meat is completely cooked, they may need a few more minutes.