Monday, September 24, 2012

Baked Cabbage Rolls

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With the change of weather and cooler temperatures finally coming our way, comfort foods come to mind.  I love Autumn!!  It is my favorite season.  I love everything about it... the cooler temperatures, the colors, the smells, the foods!!
So the other day it was raining all day long, a steady rainfall.  The temperature was in the low 60's and it was dark and dreary.  I came home, promptly lit my toparies and all my candles... "ahhh, yes, much, much better"...
Well you all know by now what that ambiance does to me right?  Makes me want to cook and bake!!
Since we're talking about ambiance, does anyone else get an immediate need to make popcorn and cocoa when the fireplace is lit?  No really, SERIOUSLY? 
I have to ask myself sometimes if I was born in the wrong era, I have seriously thought this about me for a while now... another post, another day!!
Anyway, back to the recipe. ;-)

I had bought a beautiful head of savoy cabbage at the farmers market over the weekend.  Cabbage rolls it is!! 
This recipe was given to me by "who else", one of my amazing elderly patients.  I have since tweaked it just a little bit.  If I don't say so myself, it's DELICIOUS!!
So simple, yet utterly satisfying!!  Not too salty, not too mushy, not too tomatoey, just enough meat, just enough rice...
I feel like "Goldilocks", for this one is "just right"!!!

Ready for the recipe?  Here we go;

1 head of cabbage
1lb ground beef
1 cup rice
2 cans condensed tomato soup
1 medium onion diced
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 cup celery leaves (see post here) or 1/2 cup of finely diced celery
2-1/2 cups water (divided)
salt & pepper to taste

Using a large saucepan, add 4-5 qts water and bring to boil.  Clean your cabbage by removing outer leaves, then coring from the bottom.  I usually pound the core on the counter a few times, see if it wiggles free.  If not, then I use a knife to hollow out the core and dispose.  Wash your cabbage leaves and set aside.  Once water is boiling, add 2-3 leaves in the boiling water and let sit for about 1 minute till they have softened and are pliable.  Using a slotted spoon, remove leaves and place in a strainer.  This is called "blanching".
Continue blanching leaves till you reach the smaller leaves.  I would then stop.  You don't want tiny bitty cabbage rolls, you want medium size ones.  Save cabbage for slaw, salad what have you.
Let cabbage leafs drain while you prepare your beef mixture.

In a large saute pan over medium heat, brown your ground beef till no longer pink.  Add your onions, saute till translucent.  Now add in your rice and stir till all rice is coated with the drippings of the ground beef.  Let's add in our flavor enhancing herbs, the parsley and celery leaves (or celery).  Simmer for just a minute more.  Scoop out 3/4 can of UNDILUTED tomato soup onto the mixture.  Stir well, add in 1-1/2 cups water and reduce heat to low.  Simmer for about 10 minutes or so till the water has almost been absorbed by the rice, turn off heat.  You want the rice almost cooked but still with a crunch, they will finish baking in the oven.  Salt & pepper to taste and set aside.

Preheat oven to 325F.  Pre-spray a 13 x 9 baking pan with baking spray.  Spread the other 1/4 can of tomato soup plus a few tbsp of the second can of UNDILUTED tomato soup on the bottom of the pan.  Set aside.
Lay your cabbage leaf on a flat surface with the bottom portion facing you.  If there is a hard stem, cut that out and discard, you want a flatter surface.
Place 2-3 tbsp (more if larger leaves) of beef mixture at the base of the leaf.  Spread to create a cylinder.  Start to roll from the bottom.  Lift the bottom of leaf up and over the beef mixture.  Take the first right side of leaf and bring over directly to the left and over the mixture, then do the same with the left side of the leaf.  Like your making and a burrito!!  Continue to roll and place seam side down in your pan.
Finish off the rest of your leaves and beef mixture. 
Spread the rest of your UNDILUTED tomato soup on top of the cabbage rolls.  Using the same can, fill with water and pour water all around the sides of the cabbage rolls.

Cover with aluminum foil, and bake for 1-1/2  to 1-3/4 hours.  You will know the cabbage rolls are done with your cabbage leaves are almost translucent!!
Let sit for just a few minutes and plate this amazing comfort food!!

I served mine with drop biscuits.  Go ahead, make a pan, they're so easy and the leftovers are simply divine!!  Makes me hungry all over again...

Till next time!!

Dishin with Didi


  1. You are simply too smart Didi It never occurred to me to use Savoy cabbage.. Makes it soooo much easier to sweat the leaves.. duh! ;)
    I bow my amazed noggin to you!

    1. LOL, these are so good Kim, yes the Savoy is a keeper in these!!