Friday, August 29, 2008

What Rainy Summers Mean...

Big farmer's market hauls! My mom and I "braved" the grey, gross drizzle this morning to hit the local farmer's market that gets set up every Friday in the mall's parking lot, and we had to make multiple trips to the car with our goodies! Seems that the ugly (for us humans) weather means that the produce gets gargantuan!

Along with a big bag of sweet corn, a basket each of Ginger Gold apples, peaches and three kinds of plums, we ransacked the leafy greens sections of the kiosks and wound up with this:

Yes... that would be a (very) large cabbage sitting on my countertop. One of two, actually, that we bought this morning. And... you know what that means?? Oh yeah. Cabbage rolls!!!

My mom is famous for her cabbage rolls, and she agreed to help me come up with her recipe for them. Though she claims that "it's just rice, ground beef, spices and tomato sauce", they are so much more than that. Never exactly the same twice over, but close enough that nobody complains when they find out what's for dinner!

Actually, the last time these were for dinner, it was Andrew and I that put them together (with the pre-written instructions from Mom, of course). The leaves we didn't snack away on after boiling the head of green were filled with a simple blend of stuffing ingredients before being baked off under a veil of plain tomato sauce. To try and ease in some nutrients (this was back when the family was very much the "white pasta, white rice, white potatoes, white bread" crowd), I mixed pre-cooked white and brown rice, and drained away the fat left from browning the beef and onions. That batch used a "normal-size" head of cabbage, about 2 pounds total, so I'll use that as the base for my recipe proportions. Even then, the recipe made a good two casserole dishes worth (each one about 2 qts), and we had to use our turkey roasting pan to cook them all! Thank God they freeze beautifully and microwave in minutes whenever you need a quick dinner fix!

Mom's "Guesstimate" Cabbage Rolls
Serves 12, about 2 rolls each
1 head green cabbage (2 lbs)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 large sweet onion, diced
1 lb lean ground beef
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp each dried oregano and basil
2 tbsp chili sauce (like ketchup, not hot sauce)
3/4 cup cooked, long-grain white rice
3/4 cup cooked, long-grain brown rice
2 cups crushed tomatoes
1/4 cup red wine
2 tbsp fresh-grated Parmesan cheese
2 tbsp fresh parsley
  1. Bring a very large pot of water to a boil.
  2. Remove the inner core of the cabbage by cutting a deep cone shape around the outer stem end.
  3. Gently (using two spatulas or roasting forks) lower the whole head of cabbage into the boiling water. Cook 15 minutes and remove from heat, allow to cool while preparing filling.
  4. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium flame.
  5. Add onion and cook 5 minutes, stirring.
  6. Crumble in beef, add in garlic, paprika, pepper, salt, oregano, basil and chili sauce.
  7. Cook, stirring, about 3-4 minutes. Beef will not be completely cooked. Drain off excess fat.
  8. Combine cooked meat with rices in a large bowl until well blended. Set aside.
  9. In a measuring cup or jug, combine crushed tomatoes, red wine, cheese and parsley.
  10. Pour a thin layer of sauce in the bottom of a large, covered casserole dish or roasting pan.
  11. Preheat oven to 350F.
  12. Once cabbage has cooled enough to handle, remove single leaves, setting aside.
  13. Place a heaped mound of filling inside each leaf (near the core end).
  14. Tuck the ends of the leaf in and roll or fold it into a small parcel.
  15. Place parcels seam side down on sauce, layering rolls with thin layers of sauce until all filling has been used.
  16. Top the final layer of cabbage rolls with remaining sauce.
  17. Bake, covered, for 1 hour and 20 minutes.
  18. Store leftovers in covered plastic containers (fridge: 1 week, freezer: 2 months).

Amount Per Serving
Calories: 193.3
Total Fat: 9.7 g
Cholesterol: 28.9 mg
Sodium: 258.6 mg
Total Carbs: 16.9 g
Dietary Fiber: 3.7 g
Protein: 9.9 g

1 comment :

Anonymous said...

i know i didn't have the cabbage leaves but he filling rocker :)... i still cant believe the massive cabbages you two found .. unbeliveable