Thursday, November 4, 2010

Something Clever Involving Cabbage

Finally, a mildly complicated recipe with some flavor and depth!  I say "complicated" because there were more than 4 ingredients...realistically though, this was super simple to make, and came out extremely well (with a TON of leftovers). 

Boiled cabbage.  Oh yum.  Not the most appealing thing in the world at first glance, but the cabbage lent a surprising buttery texture and flavor to the rolls that would otherwise have been lacking. 
Pretty darn pretty rolls for having been my first time, no?  I used up all but maybe 4 leaves of the entire head of cabbage for these.  It was SUPER easy to roll them, and didn't require removing the spine (or whatever that part down the middle is) or anything.  The amount of meat mixture (which I mixed using my fabulous Kitchenaid, NOT my hands, thankyouverymuch) varied by leaf size, but I think the most you want to put in there is about 2 spoonfuls. 
At first I thought 2 lbs of sauerkraut was a bit overkill, but it turned out to be just the right amount.  I poured the water from the jar into the pot to give it some extra flavor (then filled the rest with the reserved cabbage water from the first step). 
For the ham, I just got a hunk of smoked ham.  Doesn't need to be anything special.  I cut it into smallish pieces, and that was perfect. It didn't shred, but it did mix in with the rest of the fixin's nicely.  Notice you can't see the cabbage under all the sauce and ham.
In this picture, you can kind of see the cabbage rolls peeking out.
Here you can see it more definitely.  I didn't think about it, but the cabbage rolls expand when they cook, because of the rice in the meat mixture (which should be dry, by the way).  The cooked leaves had enough elasticity to adapt to the growth and not shred. 
Ahhh the final product, after an hour and a half of cooking.  Looks more like a stew now.
Dinner is served!  I put a little of the "stew" on  the side, and it was wonderful.  The tomato didn't really make its way into the rolls, so taking a forkful of each brought it all together deliciously.
The inside of one of the rolls.  Nick said he was surprised by the texture, but didn't realize there'd be rice in it.  It was very moist (though bigger chunks of meat tended to be on the edge of "almost dry") and far less crumbly than I expected it to be.  I wonder if this is something I could adapt to a crock pot.
Suffice it to say, it was a hit!
Even Kini was keen to get in on the action.
Did pulled out every trick she knew to try and get some, but rules are rules - no people food for the puppy!  She did do really well sitting by the table while we ate though.  She'd sniff from time to time and gave us big eyes the whole time, but she didn't do anything too terrible.
On a totally unrelated note, I made us some fancy placemats.  These were some blocks from a quilt I decided wasn't going to see the light of day, so they got repurposed into placemats.  Don't worry Keeley, yours are up next!  :-) 

Tonight is a night off from cooking, but I'm thinking Friday will be a night that requires dessert. 

3 comments:

  1. These are called "golubci" in Russia :). I make them periodically - a hit with my husband.... There are also "lazy golubci" variations when you don't roll the meat+rice mixture in the leaves but instead chop the cabbage and mix it with the rest and make patties you then bake.

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  3. Good for you cabbage rolls are a big undertaking, your recipe sounds really good, thanks for taking the time with all the pictures. My grandmother is the ultimate cabbage roll maker, we all head over for visits when we know she is making them.

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