Friday, April 04, 2008

Last Chance for Stuffed Cabbage!

It’s warming up out there, and soon the oven will get a much-needed rest as we round the seasonal corner to stir frys, grilling and cold meals. But it’s always nice to say goodbye to a really, really long winter with a slow-cooking, rib sticking, cold weather meal.

Let’s get started with our dinner of Stuffed Cabbage. The ingredient list couldn’t be more basic:

Cabbage (either Green or Red) (I used red so it would show up better in the pictures!)

1 ½ lb. Ground Chuck

1 C Rice

1 Egg

1 Tb. Salt


1 lg. Onion

4 C Beef Broth

1 bottle Tomato Juice

Mix the meat, rice, egg, salt and pepper in a bowl. Bring a pan of water to a boil. You can use a deep pan if you like, I used a frying pan because it’s just as easy and doesn’t take as long to get to a boil. Preheat oven to 350.

Cut the core out of the cabbage and set it, core side down into the boiling water. In the meantime, you can slice up your onions, and pour a little tomato juice in the bottom of your roasting vessel. Now, roll the cabbage over and allow the hot water and steam to loosen the outer leaves. Using tongs, remove the outermost leaf and set it on your cutting board. Using a sharp knife, cut out the thick vein in the middle of the leaf.

Turn the leaf around so the outer ends are facing you and the cut is facing away from you. Form a handful of stuffing, make sure it’s firm, then set it at the edge of the leaf. Pull the sides up over the filling, then roll the whole thing away from you until you get a nice little bundle. Set that bundle, cut side down into your pot. Continue to roll up the stuffing and cabbage until your first layer is nice and integrated. Pull a few leaves off of the head of cabbage and chop them roughly on the cutting board. Sprinkle them over the rolled cabbage. Then sprinkle over half of the cut onion.

Return to stuffing the little packets and make another layer. Cover the second layer with chopped onion and cabbage. Now pour the broth and remaining tomato juice over all until it comes almost to the top of the roasting pan. Lay a few more cabbage leaves on top, and cover with a lid (NOT aluminum foil – it will dissolve into the dinner!). Set the whole thing in the oven, and cook for about 3 hours. You may have to add more liquid as time goes on, so check it once every hour or so. You can add broth, tomato juice or water.

When it’s ready, remove the lid of the pot and also remove the first layer of cabbage leaves. Using tongs, serve up some GREAT dinner!