Posts Tagged ‘weekend’

Cabbage Rolls

January 16, 2010

What a lovely Saturday!

We woke up somewhat early, did a little cleaning and went for a stroll around town. I can’t believe that  it’s mid-January and +4 degrees out. Us Toronto folk really can’t complain too much about winter thus far. I know I have been guilty of complaining  myself, but with the sun setting later and the days getting longer, life in Canada really ain’t so bad. Only a couple more months until Spring is officially here!

I love weekends for many reasons. A break from work, extra sleep time, chance to catch up with friends and most importantly…do whatever it is that you feel like doing. Freedom is bliss!

Weekends are also great for cooking. I like to choose dishes that are easy, but ones that may take extra cooking time that I often don’t have during the week.

Today I wanted to cook up a bunch of food for my dad and freeze it in individual sized portions. I don’t get to cook for him often and wanted to make his life a little easier by filling up his freezer with some homemade grub. I haven’t made cabbage rolls before, but have seen my grandma and mom do it a handful of times. Having European roots, this dish was a pretty traditional meal in my household. I didn’t mind though, because it’s one of my top favourites.

*For the non-cabbage lovers, the filling also makes for a tasty stuffed pepper. I had a bit of extra filling, so I made both cabbage rolls and stuffed peppers.

Cabbage Roll Filling:

  • Ground sausage (I used 4 sausages that I took out of their casings)
  • 1 package ground beef, pork, chicken or turkey
  • 2 cups rice, already cooked
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1/2 bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp dried basil
  • 1 tbsp pepper
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 4-6 cups tomato sauce

Remove the core of one green cabbage and place it in salted, boiling water. Cover and boil until leaves become tender. Remove leaves and let dry. Use the outer, tough leaves to line a baking dish. This will make sure that the cabbage rolls don’t  stick to the pan. Pour a bit of tomato sauce to coat the cabbage leaves.

In a pan on medium high heat, sauté the garlic and onion in a bit of oil or butter until tender. Add all the oregano, basil, salt and pepper to the onion and garlic and let cool a bit. 

In a bowl, combine ground sausage, ground beef, egg, breadcrumbs, rice, tomato paste, onion and garlic mixture, and a few spoonfuls of  tomato sauce. Use your hands to mix everything together. The mixture is now ready to be stuffed into halved peppers or cabbage leaves.

With the cabbage leaves, make sure to cut the tough stem out, which is at the bottom of the leaf. Lay the leaf flat, fill with about 3 tbsp or so of the mixture and roll up like you would a spring roll. Fold in the edges as you roll so that the filling stays inside.

Place each roll seam-side down in the cabbage  lined pan. Pour the remaining tomato sauce on top. I also like to add about 1 cup of the cooking water from boiling the cabbage to help steam the cabbage as it cooks. Cover with foil and make in a 350 degree oven for about an hour and fifteen minutes.

Here’s a shot of my cabbage roll with my stuffed pepper. I added a slice of provolone on the stuffed pepper and put it under the broiler for a few minutes for a little something extra. I think my dad will enjoy these!