January 15, 2012

Unstuffed Cabbage.....

My mom makes Stuffed Cabbage rolls and I love them. Ive made them over the yrs and they are close to moms but not quite. But it still tasted good. The part I hate tho is rolling each one. When I don't have a lot of time its tedious. I saw a recipe for a stuffed cabbage skillet dish that used most of the ingredients but was quick. I thought that was a great idea and maybe one day Ill adapt my own recipe a bit more to do that.

But since I grew up with this, I really feel the best cabbage rolls are the ones that take time to cook in the oven. One day awhile back I started to make this only to find that half of the head of cabbage I had, had these dark lines running on some of the cabbage veins. Well of course I don't know what it was, I thought perhaps it got too cold in the grocery store cuz it was weird..it really was only on half the head. So I didn't use the leaves that had that on it. But because of that I didn't have enough to make the whole recipe right.

It was then I remembered that skillet dish I saw and thought...hey  I don't need all the cabbage. Ill just layer it and make it the same. It worked out great and honestly is faster to put together and easier to serve. I tweaked this recipe a bit more now and last nites dinner was the best Ive ever made. So sorry mom its not quite like yours, but its really good!

 Unstuffed Cabbage Casserole 8 hearty servings

1.  1 lg. head of cabbage
     1c. white rice

Remove the core and put either on a plate to microwave or in a pot of water with some vinegar in it to boil. You have a choice here. Mom used to cook it on the stove and peel off the layers as they cooked. They do get cooked much more this way and are easier to roll. But to me they just take too much time. So I microwave the whole head for about 10min. Let it cool a bit so you can touch it and remove whatever leaves you can that are cooked.

Put back in the microwave and do another 5min. Keep doing this till the leaves are done thru. The center part doesn't matter too much where the leaves are small. You will use this chopped  to top the casserole with anyway. While you are cooking the cabbage, cook the rice till done and set aside for the stuffing.

2. While this is cooking make the stuffing.
    2- 2 1/2lbs of ground beef
    1 onion, chopped fine
    3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
    1 tsp. salt or more
    1 tb. Hungarian Paprika
    2 tsp. dried parsley (feel free to use fresh if you have it)
    1 tsp. dried thyme
    1/2 tsp. cayenne
    2 eggs
    the cooked rice 

Saute onion in a little butter, when soft add the garlic and saute a couple minutes more. Put meat in a lg. bowl, add all the rest of the list and mix a bit to distribute the spices a bit. Then add in the cooked onions and garlic and the rice from step  1. Mix well.

3. Layering
    Stuffing mix from step 2
    Cabbage from step 1
    8oz. sauerkraut
    1 28oz. can of crushed tomatoes with sauce ( or plain tomato sauce even a plain spaghetti sauce like Classico with basil)
    1/2 c. ketchup

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pour about 1/4 of the can of tomatoes on the bottom of a lg. casserole dish or 13 x 9 in. pan. Mix half the sauerkraut with that and make sure its spread pretty even across the bottom of the pan. This is to distribute the flavors top and bottom and to keep it from sticking.

Next make a nice layer of cabbage leaves. I cut out the thick main rib cuz it takes too long to cook. Then I just fit the lg. leaves across the bottom to cover. At this point assess how many leaves you have cuz you want a nice layer of cabbage for each. I had a very lg. head so this time I made 3 layers of cabbage to two layers of meat. But you can just put them on the bottom and the top if you don't have a lot and it will work too.

Then top with a layer of the meat. Remember if you are making two layers to just use half...otherwise put the whole thing in there. Top with more cabbage and repeat if your doing  several layers, finishing with cabbage. Top with the chopped inner cabbage leaves you saved and the rest of the sauerkraut. Mix the ketchup in the remaining tomatoes and pour over the top of the casserole covering it all. If the sauce is thick you could add a bit of water to it before you bake it.

Cover with foil and bake for at least 2 1/2hrs. Check to see if it  is drying out. It shouldn't with the meat juices and cabbage but if it does, add a bit of water and return to oven. You do not want this dry. I test the center to see if the cabbage there is tender. When it is, its done. Cut into lg. squares and serve. You could serve with a nice crusty rye bread and butter.

For those who want traditional tho here is moms recipe:

Moms Stuffed Cabbage Make about 26 rolls

1 head of cabbage (about 3lbs.)
(soften cabbage in lg. pot with water and 1 tb. vinegar)

1 medium onion , chopped
1/4lb. butter
(saute onions in butter)

In lg. mixing bowl:
2 lbs. chopped beef
1 1/2 c. rice (mom uses Minute rice, I hate that stuff)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. onion powder
2 (8oz.) cans tomato sauce (mix in well with above ingred.)

Fill softened cabbage leaf with meat mixture:

In lg. pot:
Cut up excess cabbage leaves and put on bottom of pot. Layer stuffed cabbages in pot.

Pour over cabbage:
2 (8oz. ) cans tomato sauce
1 can tomato soup
1 can water
1/2 c. ketchup
1/2 c. water or more to cover cabbage

(I also remember mom topping it with sauerkraut altho it doesn't say so in her recipe)

Cover and bake in oven 2 1/2hrs. in 350 degree oven or till done. (We use a lg. covered enamelware pot for this) 

Next take that can of tomatoes and add a half cup of ketchup. (mom always does this and I like that flavor, you could however just add water instead if you like). Stir it well and pour it over the top layer, spreading it out all over. 


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pearl gill said...

I just wanted to tell you that I found your recipe for un-stuffed cabbage on pinterest and I've now made it 3x now! It was delicious! My mom and grandma also loved it, and my grandma (who is 94) loved it so much she made it too! Thanks for posting the recipe!