yesterday morning i got a craving for cabbage rolls. weather wasn't doing anything to cheer me up so i figured making the rolls would be a perfect thing to do. obviously, i needed cabbage so i went to get a big one from the store, along with some minced beef and pork, but any mince will work.
making the rolls involve a lot of hands on work so i figured i'd make enough to freeze. for this batch (that resulted in 20 rolls and a cabbage casserole) i used 1 big cabbage, 800 gr of minced meat, 2 medium size onions, 3 dl cooked rice, white & black pepper, butter, dark syrup and 1 liter of stock.
started by browning the minced meat. though i got the leanest version of mince, there was some unwanted fat that i got rid of by "straining" the mince by placing it on paper towels in colander. you could also make this vegetarian by grating a few carrots (or whatever you fancy) to the filling, or adding up on onions and rice (even chopped raisins if you like raisins)
onions were chopped quite fine, sauteed and added to browned mince
all mixed, seasoned with white and black pepper to taste, and left to cool. feel free to use salt if you like it. you could also go wild with other spices, say if you had lamb mince, rosemary might work great, with chicken or turkey you might go for curry mix...
removed the core from cabbage (makes it easier to peel the leaves one by one)
cabbage in salted (only salt in this recipe) boiling water to wilt the leaves for easier removal, you might have to do this several times (peel and wilt again)
these were almost too stiff to peel and did indeed require another bath in boiling water to wilt them further. i got 26 leaves of my big cabbage until the leaves got too small. some broke when peeling so i chopped them for another use. i was left with peeled cabbage approx the size of my fist, chopped that fine and in a bit i'll tell you what i did with those
removing the hard part of leaves for easier rolling
place one in front of you as a "cup"
place a spoonful of mince mix on leave
turn the sides on
start rolling, try to make it as tight as possible
all neatly placed in oven dishes. these 2 are handy since they both fit in the oven at the same time. oven at the shack has convection but that mode gets used seldom since there is only rack
instead of dobs of butter i used oivariini on top. use as much, or as little, a you like
3 tbsp of dark syrup and 3 dl of stock (any you have) to each pan went in before putting them in 160C oven and cooking until done. until they are done? yes, you never know how long it's going to take. the cookbook said 45 mins, but mine were seriously underdone at that point. i guess the cooking time correlates to how "wilted" the leaves were to begin with and how "done" you want yours. certain someone seems to like some bite in the cabbage, i like mine mushy soft. ended up cooking one for 1½ hrs and the other for 2 hrs
this was in the oven for 2 hrs, last ½ hr covered with foil
made this casserole with the same ingredients as the rolls, except the "left-over" cabbage was chopped fine. now remember, i wanted to make enough to freeze, if that's not what you want, half the recipe and you'll get 20 or so rolls and no casserole
casserole pre cooking, oivariini, syrup and stock in
this was in oven for 1½ hrs and by that time it was kinda late (10.30 pm) as my cooking was interrupted by certain someone's unexpected car-trouble that involved a tow truck...
cookbooks name all sorts of accompaniments for either of these dishes, feel free to find out what they are, i'll eat mine with lingonberry jam!
ps. how many went to freezer? hmm... i truly cannot come up with a witty answer to that! none, i'm ashamed to say