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Pam R

Stuffed Cabbage Rolls--Cook-Off 36

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Venison cabbage rolls.

 

Cooler temps made me have a craving.

 

I love the method of freezing the head of cabbage and then letting it thaw.  Every single leaf came off easily and intact.  

 

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Before baking.  I put some ribs in there, too.

 

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Shelby, you were reading my mind which had cabbage rolls dancing on the plate!  Your's look delicious.  I have no venison save for two tenderloins which I was gifted but I think them too special for cabbage rolls.  

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Shelby, you were reading my mind which had cabbage rolls dancing on the plate!  Your's look delicious.  I have no venison save for two tenderloins which I was gifted but I think them too special for cabbage rolls.  

Yeah, I wouldn't use that.....but some ground beef would do nicely :) 

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I was also thinking about stuffed cabbage. I made them for the first time last year, using (very loosely) the recipe from the Gourmet cookbook, and it was so good. The combination of lemon juice, brown sugar, and dried tart cherries (Trader Joe's) was great. But my main motivation came from having a lot of V-8 juice left over (long story, and I hate V-8 juice.) I decided to use it instead of the canned tomatoes and juice that was called for. It added to the sweet-sour flavor, and I guess the change in the weather got me to thinking about it again. Time to buy more V-8 juice.

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Instead of steaming/blanching/freezing, has anyone tried popping a head of cabbage into a pressure cooker for five minutes or so?

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Instead of steaming/blanching/freezing, has anyone tried popping a head of cabbage into a pressure cooker for five minutes or so?

Now there is an idea definitely worth pursuing. I'll be interested to hear if anyone has given it a trial.


Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Never call a stomach a tummy without good reason.” William Strunk Jr., The Elements of Style

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

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Shelby,

 

Great-looking cabbage rolls! On the photo of your mise for the filling, it looks like the ground venison and eggs at twelve o'clock, uncooked rice at 9, lightly sauteed onion and celery at 6, but what's at three? Sauerkraut?

 

Freezing or boiling is fine and easy if you're willing to sacrifice a whole head of cabbage at one go. Because I cook for only two, I usually want less than that, and the inner leaves are not suitable as wraps anyway. What I do is slice off the core of the raw head close enough to the base of the leaves to leave the outer spiral of leaves loose at the bottom. Then the raw leaves can be gently coaxed from the bottom intact away from the head. Cut the core again, remove the next tier, and repeat until you have enough to complete the recipe. Then you can return what's left of your cabbage raw to the fridge where it will happily live for quite awhile waiting you to make coleslaw or something else. You will have to either freeze or briefly blanch the cabbage wrappers to make them pliable enough to wrap with my method, but there's less waste. Of course the finished rolls freeze well, so folks might want to just go ahead and use the whole head anyway.

 

I use this same technique with iceberg and other closely headed lettuces. They last much longer than if you just tear out pieces and return the ripped leaves to the fridge. I love wedge salads, but rarely make them, because I know if I cut two wedges, I must very quickly use up the rest of the head or it will go to waste.

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> ^ . . ^ <

 

 

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Yes, I like a bit of sauerkraut in there.  Gives it a kick :)

 

This head of cabbage was really quite small.  I gave 4 rolls to my m-i-l, we ate a few and I had planned on freezing the rest.  But, there are only 4-5 left so I'll probably eat on them this week.

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Freezing or boiling is fine and easy if you're willing to sacrifice a whole head of cabbage at one go. Because I cook for only two, I usually want less than that, and the inner leaves are not suitable as wraps anyway. What I do is slice off the core of the raw head close enough to the base of the leaves to leave

 

Sounds pretty smart, and I'll definitely be employing this technique for salads.

 

But as far as cabbage rolls goes, while I'm there going through all that trouble, I've found it's easiest for me to go ahead and make up the whole big pot.  And then freeze the individual cooked cabbage rolls in single servings.  They freeze beautifully, and it's so wonderfully welcome and comforting for me to come home hungry and tired on a cold, wet, blustery day, and pop a couple into the microwave. 

 

I really love cabbage rolls (my recipe here

http://forums.egullet.org/topic/126444-russian-stuffed-cabbage-rolls/?p=1695076&hl=stuffed%20cabbage&fromsearch=1#entry1695076 ) but I'd never be able to go through all that trouble several times a month, especially not right after I get home from work, even if I had the time, which I don't.

 

I've bought some great little plastic storage boxes that are just big enough for two rolls and some sauce.  Works perfectly for me.

 

And isn't it interesting how hungry minds think alike?

 

Because just last week was thinking that it's time to be making up a big pot of cabbage rolls.  And then I come here and this thread has been revived again.


Edited by Jaymes (log)
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I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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What I find interesting about this thread is that virtually no one uses chopped green bell pepper in their rolls anymore. (They do appear in Pierogi's photo of the old recipe card.) I first tasted this dish when my family moved to Pennsylvania Ducth country when I was 11. I hated them, but loved the sweet and sour sauce. (I somehow only ever got the kind with the sauce made from tomato juice, vinegar and sugar.) I also hated cooked bell pepper. (love them raw, hate them cooked.)  It took me a long time to realize that I could cook certain dishes without the bell pepper and that they could be really good. So, this was something I hadn't thought about making or eating for a really long time because I thought I hated it. It's also fascinating how two new world vegetables, tomatoes and bell peppers, became so integral to so many versions of a central European dish.

 

I am going to make some for Thanksgiving this year, as a vegan main dish. I am still debating on how to make my filling (bright tasting: cooking rice and lentils in lemon zest/juice spiked water and adding cauliflower, spicy/savory: lentils cooked in middle eastern spices with brown rice or bulgur, or savory: brown rice, lots of mushrooms, sauteed onion) but, hopefully, this will be a welcome addition to the gathering I am attending. -I am not fond of cooked squashes, and a lot of vegetarian main dishesl for this holiday use squash, so, I was looking for something different that will be easy to serve and hold well.

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Lisa, I love the sound of your vegetarian cabbage rolls. When I stuff grape leaves with a vegetarian filling, I usually add currants and toasted pine nuts. They add lots of flavor and texture.

 

Reposting this photo from the Salt Cod topic: Stuffed Cabbage with Salt Cod, from Colman Andrews’ Catalan Cuisine.  I never would have thought of stuffing cabbage with fish, much less salt cod.

 

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The filling is brandade, a smooth, creamy puree of salt cod, olive oil, cream. These are lighter than cabbage rolls with meat but they are very rich.  The sauce is strongly flavored with ancho chile, roasted red pepper, as well as tomato.

 

One interesting thing that might be useful for other stuffed cabbage recipes: the stuffed rolls were cooked in the oven without the sauce.  When they came out of the oven the cabbage leaves were still very green and firm, much more so than you’d get after simmering them in sauce.  See the photo below.

 

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Since the filling here was already cooked, the rolls only needed to be reheated.  But I wonder what would happen if I tried this with the usual raw ground meat. I can say that I liked the flavor of these better when I reheated the leftovers with the sauce.  But the greener, firmer cabbage might make cooked rolls better for freezing.  I may experiment the next time I make traditional stuffed cabbage.

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Linda, I had wondered about cooking them plain since it's pretty common knowledge that acids turn green vegetables a khaki color that isn't so appealing. I had actually planned on rolling them the night before, baking in the morning, then transporting them plain to the event, reheating briefly, then saucing them during serving. The sauce doesn't appear to do much structurally in this dish; the filling is isolated from it, and the cabbage doesn't need it to cook, nor does the cabbage get infused with its flavor (it's not like a starch). Your pictures really show how beautiful the colors can be in this dish.

 

Thanks for the pine nuts & currants suggestion, I had forgotten about adding nuts -they add a good texture.

 

One other thing I am going to try is fancying up the sauce a bit by making it like a gastrique (caramelize the sugar, add and reduce vinegar, then add tomato juice) rather than just mixing all the ingredients together. Might also add a touch of molasses. Debating about the gingersnaps.

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