Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Cabbage Rolls

Cabbage Rolls

There are so many different ways to prepare the filling for your cabbage rolls.  Do you prefer pre-cooking the ground meat and rice prior to filling?   If yes, be careful not to overcook the meat.  There isn't a right or a wrong.  It's a matter of personal preference.  

No matter which method you choose, just be sure to remove the vein from the centre of each leaf before forming a roll.  The first time I made them, I had not performed this step and boy oh boy were those cabbage rolls ever tough to eat.

A quick tip is to freeze the cabbage as a whole and then pull apart the leaves as it defrosts.  I was amazed to see this really works.  No need to boil.  Just be sure to remove those centre veins.

Ground Beef

1.   Remove the center core from the cabbage and discard outer leaves.
Remove Core
2.   Boil cabbage and take leaves apart as the cabbage softens.  (If difficult cut out more of the core for easier separation).
Take apart leaves
3.   Shave down the center vein from each leaf.
Shave down center vein of each leaf
4.   Cook rice as per instruction on packaging.

5.   Prepare Filling.  Mix in a bowl the cooked rice, raw onions, raw ground beef, salt & pepper  (Optional:  you may sauté the onions and beef together or leave them both raw, however, sautéing the beef can make it meat slightly dry).
Filling: Cooked Rice, Onion, Ground Beef
6.   Lay out small leaves along bottom of baking dish. (this will prevent the rolls from sticking to the bottom of the baking dish).
How to start forming the cabbage roll
7.   Form rolls by placing the filling on the vein side of the leaf. Bring in sides as you roll the leaf.  Lay leaves tightly side by side in baking dish.

Keep sides folded inwards when rolling
8.   Add 1 cup water to baking dish and bake covered at 350°F for 45 minutes to 1 hour.
Rolls are placed side by side close together
9. Serve with tomato sauce.

Tomato Sauce

Tomato Sauce:
1.   Sauté 1 diced onion in oil
2.   Add slices of mushrooms (about 10 mushrooms)
3.   Add a 1 to 2 cans of diced tomatoes (or homemade sauce or fresh diced tomatoes)
4.   Season with salt and pepper
5.   Add 1 tsp of sugar if bitter

- Cabbage rolls can be frozen after baking and cooled
- Rather than boiling the cabbage in order to take apart the leaves, freeze as a whole and then defrost.  (Leaves will easily come apart).  Not recommended if freezing cabbage rolls after baking.

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