March 3, 2013

This is How We Roll

If you are one of our loyal readers you are probably aware that Justin and I are not huge fans of cabbage.  Despite us both having connections to Pittsburgh, our familiarity with polish food was pretty limited to a restaurant in Santa Monica.

But the last remaining item from our share was the head of cabbage.  And since we still have some homemade sauerkraut and kimchi in the fridge, we decided to actually use the cabbage as the star in our show for dinner tonight.  We scoured the internet for recipes, and stumbled across this guy for stuffed cabbage rolls.

You'll want to start off by coring your cabbage, and then placing it into a pot of boiling water to cook the leaves.  As they start to pull away from the head, carefully remove them, keeping the leaves whole.  Any smaller leaves that you can't pull off whole, can be placed into the bottom of your baking dish.
At the same time, saute the onions and celery in a pan with some butter.  We chose to include the celery leaves for some additional celery flavor since they looked so good.  Once they've cooked down, and are soft, place them in a bowl to cool.  We were growing hungry, and impatient, so we stuck ours in the fridge for a few minutes.
Once the celery/onion mixture has cooled, add an egg, the pork and beef..  You really just want to make sure that the onions and celery aren't piping hot.  Otherwise you'll get scrambled eggs and it will start to cook your meat.  The recipe just calls for seasoning of salt and pepper, but we put our own spin on things and also added some paprika, roasted garlic salt in place of plain Kosher, and some red pepper flake.  Toss that around so everything is good and mixed.

Then you start stuffin'!  Spoon some of the meat mixture into each cabbage leaf.  The size of the leaves will determine how much meat you can stuff it with.  Then you just roll it up like a burrito, so all sides are tucked under.  Place the rolls, seam side down, into your baking dish.  If you need to create a second layer of rolls, that's fine.

Every 30 minutes, you'll want to baste your rolls with the juices that have leached out.  At this time, if the rolls on the 2nd layer are a little charred, you can swap places with rolls that are on the bottom.

When your rolls are just about done baking, you can start on the sauce.  The grocery store didn't have any good looking cremini mushrooms, so we went with some portabellas.  Start by chopping them into smaller pieces, and cooking them down in some butter.  After a few minutes, add the garlic.  Once the garlic has turned a golden brown, add your beef stock, cooking sherry (since the wine was at my place), and the juices that have leached out from the cabbage rolls.  For seasoning, we added some fennel seed, thyme, roasted garlic salt and pepper.
As the sauce came together, we added a little cornstarch to thicken it up.  Once your sauce tastes good, and is the right viscosity, you're ready to serve!

These things are delicious! Even if you aren't big fan of cabbage give them a try.  They are relatively healthy to boot and there is just enough butter and pork to make them yummy!

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