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Sunday, 11 January 2015

Cabbage Rolls (The Old Fashioned Kind)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zLK8NQfzWw4&feature=youtu.be

Yield: 29 large cabbage rolls
(enough for 12 people +)

Thanks to the Matriarchs in my family for mentoring me in the kitchen. My Mom, Eileen Little, for teaching me how to make cabbage rolls at a very early age. This recipe is an adaptation of her original recipe. Also, my children's Baba, Anna Borys shared with me and taught me all about freezing cabbage to make cabbage-roll making so much easier.

5 cups cooked tomato rice (see recipe below)
1 large green cabbage (wilted - please see below)
1 10 oz tomato soup 
2  cans tomato sauce (398ml can) 
1 large can diced tomatoes 
.5 kg. lean ground beef
1 onion- diced small
1 bulb garlic - diced concas
3 tbsp. olive oil
1 cup clamato juice or water
salt & pepper

Cook the tomato rice as per the recipe below. This can be done well ahead and you can even use left over rice. You will need a total of 5 cups of cooked rice.  Chill until needed.
Dice onion and garlic and saut√© until onions are  transparent. This may seem like a lot of garlic but it adds so much to the flavour .
Preparing the Cabbage
The cabbage has to be to wilted in order to easily roll the cabbage around the filling. There are a few ways to do this. 
  1. Steaming: cut out the core of a fresh cabbage and steam in boiling water until leaves become wilted and you can easily remove each leaf.  This is laborious but works very well if you didn’t have the time to freeze the cabbage ahead of time
  2. Freezing: freeze the whole cabbage for 2-3 days. The night before you are making your cabbage rolls remove the cabbage from the freezer and leave at room temperature to thaw (the cabbage will leak so place it on a large plate). This is the easiest way to wilt the cabbage leaves.
When the cabbage leaves are wilted (soft to the touch, more pliable and semi transparent) mix the cooked tomato rice and ground beef together as follows. In a large mixing bowl add cooked tomato rice, raw ground beef, cooked onion and garlic, 1/2 can of tomato sauce, lots of ground pepper and salt (1/2 tsp.).
Vegetarian option: I always make a small vegetarian dish for my daughter Alexandra and our friend Mari as they do not eat meat. The filling consists of 1 cup cooked tomato rice, 1/2 cup diced zucchini, 1/2 a banana pepper, salt and pepper to taste. There are so many options for meatless cabbage rolls. This is just one of those options.
Mix together well.
Before you start filling your cabbage rolls, gently pull off each cabbage leaf one at a time and stack the leaves on a large plate in preparation for the filling (see video of this procedure). I always discard the two large outer leaves from each cabbage as they are usually damaged and dirty.
Measure out 1/3 cup of the rice/ground beef mixture into each cabbage leaf.
Roll up so that the rice mixture is totally encased. (see video for this procedure)
Grease casserole dish or one larger casserole dish or roasting pan.
Place each cabbage roll carefully beside each other (not too squished) so that the cabbage rolls stay rolled. 
Two layers only per casserole so that all the rolls are immersed in the tomato sauce.
Divide the cans of tomato soup, diced tomatoes and tomato sauce in half and add a half a can of each to each of the two casserole.  
Add a cup of water or a cup of clamato juice to each casserole.
Cover well and cook at 350 degrees for 2 hours.
Turn off the oven 1/2 hour before service and allow the cabbage rolls to set.
Serve hot with fresh sourdough bread and a salad of choice.

Tomato rice  
2 cups rice
1 cup tomato sauce
3 cups water

Rinse rice well first in cold water and drain. To a medium sized pot add rice, tomato sauce, water and salt & pepper.
Bring up to the boil.

Cover the pot and turn down to low.  Allow approximately 20 minutes to cook.

Chef Miriam Borys, B.Ed., MA.
'Cooking Uncovered'
http://www.youtube.com/user/mlborys?feature=mhee
blog: www.cookinguncovered.blogspot.com
Website: www.miriamborys.com



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