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
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.
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.
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.