October 11, 2007

Cabbage Rolls and Mashed Potatoes!

Making cabbage rolls is a simple process, yet takes a certain measure of patience. It takes a little time, but the result is worthwhile. Since they are even better after they're frozen, you'll have cabbage rolls for the next time you crave them.

1 large head of cabbage (or two small)
1 cup of cooked rice (I used white)
3 pounds of ground beef (not too lean)
2 tablespoons butter
3 eggs
salt and pepper
2 large cans of tomato sauce, plus an extra can in case you need it
A few slices of bacon

Core the cabbage and put it in a few inches of rapidly boiling water (covered) until the outer leaves begin to become loose enough to peel off with tongs. I peel and remove the leaves as they loosen and recover the pot to keep it boiling, and repeat as additional leaves loosen. Finally I had a stack of cabbage leaves like this:

Put ground beef in a bowl and mix in butter, eggs, cooked rice, salt and pepper.

When you have a stack of cabbage leaves, you are ready to roll (pun intended). With scissors, clip off harder white part of cabbage leaf where the stem was. Place a spoonfull of the meat mixture in the center of the leaf.

Roll top down bottom up and then sides in, so that the cabbage leaf envelopes the meat inside. Repeat until you are out of meat or cabbage. Put what you have in a casserole dish (or two). If you have extra meat mixture, you can save it for meatballs! :)

Cover generously with tomato sauce and then a few strips of bacon. Use a spatula to ensure tomato sauce seeps between and under cabbage rolls. Place in oven preheated to 350 degrees for 1/2 an hour, and then turn oven down to 250 degrees for 1 1/2 or 2 additional hours.

They're done when they are all warm and bubbly, and the bacon is cooked. They will have absorbed some of the sauce- but they shouldn't be scorched on top.

Now they're ready for either eating or freezing for later. If you can wait to eat them, my advice is to freeze them because it really does enhance the flavors. We like mashed potatoes with this dinner, so I thought I would give a quick mashed potato refresher course! (With the advice of Jack, the mashed potato guru).

Peel baking potatoes (I used 6 large) and cut into chunks. Put in pot, cover with water and bring to a boil.

Test after 25 minutes or so. They're done when a fork will easily pierce them, meeting no resistance. Drain and put back in pot. Mash them for a few minutes with a hand masher, until there are no large chunks. Add a few tablespoons of butter and mash again. Add milk- only a little to start, and keep mashing. Add milk until you reach your desired consistency.

There you have it- mashed potatoes.

By dinnertime, we were more than ready to eat, after having spent a few hours cooking! It was very good, if you read THIS post, you might be wondering how my cabbage rolls compared. While they really were good, they just weren't the same, something was a little off. It's easy to copy a recipe, but it's not possible to recreate a scene and a mood, there's no subsititute for sitting around a dinner table with family. I froze a large batch, and look forward to Jack and Marilyn's visit so we can enjoy them together...and the eggs.


Jack Moon said...

They looked real good. Maybe our freezinng them first before we served them made a difference in the taste. anyway we hope we can enjoy the left overs with you.
Love, Jack

JB said...

I am going to try this at home when I can. It looks amazing. Miss you guys!!

The Cookbook Junkie said...

Sounds great. About the only thing we do differently is we add sauerkraut on top. The leftover mix of kraut and tomato sauce is highly prized.

Chef Tom said...

This sounds like a pretty good meal. Thanks for sharing your experience !

Christine said...

I love cabbage rolls! My Grammy used to make them and I've been wanting to revitalize her recipe - you've inspired me! :)

Ally said...

Although I love cabbage rolls, I haven't had them in quite a while. Yours look delicious. I'll have to ut this on my "to make" list!

Julie said...

I love cabbage rolls, these look terrific. I bet the bacon adds a nice flavor.

Abby said...

Atmosphere does in fact make a meal better (or worse!) That's comfort food at its finest, isn't it? Yum.

Abby said...

Atmosphere does in fact make a meal better (or worse!) That's comfort food at its finest, isn't it? Yum.

Arties32 said...

Thank you for the comments- yes, this was a great meal. We had them for lunch today and after having been frozen for over a week, they were so much better. While we're still longing for the company, we're enjoying the cabbage rolls in the meantime. Abby- the photo of your cupcakes is killing me! they look perfect!