Monday, September 13, 2021

Stuffed Cabbage Rolls Like It Was Mid-Century

One of the cooler weather dishes that I really enjoyed growing up was stuffed cabbage rolls which are cooking in a tomato sauce. Not sure if it was the interesting bit of stuffing the cabbage leaves, or the challenge of keeping them together with toothpicks, even while browning them, of the comfort food aspect of eating them, but I remember them fondly. The leaves are stuffed with a mixture of ground beef and rice, plus a few secret ingredients. Since I can no longer eat beef, I substituted ground turkey and they were still tasty. If you can eat beef, use it because it gives an authentic and totally savory experience.

The hardest part was probably separating the leaves from the head of cabbage because I wanted unbroken leaves and the edges of my cabbage had grown together and didn't want to become individual leaves. The next challenging part was securing the cabbage once rolled with toothpicks so that they didn't unroll. One kinda did, but the others stayed together...I even was able to turn a couple of them over to brown on both sides! I know, supposed to do that with all of them, but it was fine and the flavor stays the same.

Because you have protein, starch, and some veg all in one dish, you don't have to have a side dish, but a green salad goes well with this meal. Leftovers are even better than the day they are made...must be the onions.

Do try this when you have a yen for a delicious, savory, flavorful meal where you get to play with your food in the making of it.

Stuffed Cabbage in Tomato Sauce 
Serves 6

1 lb. lean ground beef
1 cup cooked rice
1 small onion, chopped
1 teaspoon caraway seed
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1 egg
12 whole cabbage leaves
¼ cup vegetable oil
2 cans tomato sauce (8 oz. cans)
¼ cup water
1 can beef consommé or beef broth
2 tablespoons cornstarch

Mix together the ground beef, cooked rice, onion, seasonings and egg in a large bowl. Trim off thickest part of the stem from the cabbage leaves which have been softened with boiling water and drained. Divide meat into 12 portions, wrap each in a leaf, and fasten with wooden toothpicks.

 Brown the cabbage rolls in hot oil. Add tomato sauce and water and stir. Cover; cook slowly over low heat about 40 minutes. Add beef consomm√© or broth. Remove cabbage rolls; thicken gravy with the cornstarch which you have mixed with at least ¼ cup water. Once gravy thickens, serve with cabbage rolls while both are hot. Serves 6.

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