Friday, December 16, 2005

Stuffed Cabbage

Talk about somebody being in a rut. That’s where my cooking has been this past month.

Don’t get me wrong here—I’ve been producing a bunch of good food, I’ve just mainly been cooking my standard recipes and haven’t felt that I had anything really interesting to write about.

Fortunately for me and the Blog, I’ve got a couple of new things worked up now and the first one I want to introduce is last evening’s dinner entrée—Stuffed Cabbage.

My girl Pat grew up cooking and eating Stuffed Cabbage while I only used cabbage for coleslaw, but we still spent some time looking around on the internet and we ended up making a few modifications and combining some ideas we found. I might have a little fine tuning to do on the quantities, but I feel the necessity to get something published here on the blog so here goes…To make our Stuffed Cabbage, you’ll need the following ingredients:

Two medium heads of cabbage

For the sweet and sour tomato sauce:

2 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic—smashed and minced
2 28 oz cans whole peeled tomatoes
6 8 oz cans unseasoned tomato sauce
2 tbsp white vinegar
2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp dried parsley
Salt to taste
Black pepper to taste

For the meat filling:

2 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic—smashed and minced
½ yellow onion--diced
1-1/2 lbs ground beef
½ pound ground pork
1-1/2 cups instant rice
1 tbsp dried parsley
1 can tomato paste
2 tbsp red wine

First you make a sweet & sour tomato sauce. Add the olive oil to a large boiler over medium heat. Add your garlic and sautee for a few minutes, being careful not to burn it. Meanwhile, dump your whole tomatoes into a mixing bowl and break them up with your fingers or a fork.

Add the mashed up tomatoes and the tomato sauce to the garlic in the boiler and turn the heat down a little. Now add the vinegar, the sugar, the parsley, and a little salt and pepper and let it simmer for at least 30 minutes (my sauce cooked a couple of hours.)

Place your ground beef and pork in a large mixing bowl, add your instant rice, and stir everything together well.

In a large skillet, sautee your diced onion in a couple of teaspoons of olive oil. After a few minutes, add the minced garlic. Once the onions and garlic have cooked (5 minutes or so), add the tomato paste, splash in the red wine, and the parsley. Turn off the heat.

When you’re happy with your sauces, peel the crappy outside leaves off your cabbage and discard them. Put the cabbages in a couple of large boilers and cover each head with water. Bring them to a low boil. Once the water boils, turn off the heat and let your cabbage coast for a few minutes, then dump out the hot water and add cold water to stop them from cooking.

Once they have cooled off so that you can handle them, carefully peal the leaves off each head and make a nice pile of leaves ready for stuffing.

Now add the contents of the skillet (onions, garlic, tomato paste, etc.) to the meat in the mixing bowl. Mix well with a spoon or your hands.

Spray two 9x13 Pyrex dishes with non-stick spray. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

Now the fun part. Take a knife and slice the big rib out of the middle of each cabbage leaf, then spoon two or three (or four) spoonfuls of the meat mixture into the leaf and roll it up real tight. Place your stuffed cabbage leaves in uniform rows in the dishes. Use your good judgment as to the number of leaves and the quantity of meat to put in each leaf.

Once you have a couple of dishes full of stuffed leaves, pour your tomato sauce over the top of everything and smooth it out with your spoon. Cover each dish with aluminum foil and pop them in the oven for about an hour and fifteen minutes.

Start checking how done things are after about an hour in the oven. Then pull your cabbages out, let them cool a little, grab yourself a fork, and EAT.

Regards Y'all,

The Redneck Gourmet

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