Time to harvest the winter cabbage and make room for spring vegetables.
I first pulled the cabbage out from the root. Then I cut off the bottom half (the stem portion without leaves and roots) to place it in the compost. It’s a good idea to give the cabbage a squirt with a hose while outside to get some of the critters off safely, no need to kill all the bugs while in the kitchen.
- 2 heads of cabbage
- 1-1/2 cups of rice
- 1/2 lb meat (Your choice, I used some smoked corned beef leftovers)
- 2 Tbsp. garlic
- 2 onions
- 6 average tomatoes
- 1 Tbsp. sugar
- spices: salt, pepper, paprika
(Makes approximately two casserole dishes)
Step 1. Put the rice on to cook and a pot of water on to boil. Later you will be blanching your vegetables.
Step 2. Prep the cabbage. Cut the cabbage leaves from the stem, give it a quick wash and then put it through a salad spinner. You will have bugs crawling out of the cabbage as you go, so keep a paper towel nearby to squish them.
Cabbage in spinner and clean cabbage on a plate:
Step 3. Blanch the cabbage. Put the cabbage in the pot laying flat for about a minute. The desired result is to have bendable cabbage that is not cooked through. The cabbage will turn a more vibrant shade of green, it makes for great photos.
Step 4. Blanch the tomatoes. I left the tomatoes in for 2-3 minutes or until you see the skin split. No need to change the water in between. If you’re trying for low waste or live in California you can blanche the vegetables first then use the same water to cook your rice. Once the water is cooled it can also be used to water your garden.
Step 5. Tomato sauce prep. Peel the skin from the tomatoes, cut in half, and place in a blending apparatus. I used the magic bullet. Add the sugar, salt, pepper and paprika. The sugar is used to balance the tart tomatoes. It is completely optional based on your tastes and tomato variety used. Blend and set aside.
Tomato sauce will look like this:
Step 6. Make the filling. Cut meat into small chunks or shred. Chop onions to your liking. Mix onions and meat with rice, salt, pepper, paprika, and garlic (we used jar garlic so no prep needed). Below the mix is shown before the rice is added.
Step 7. Grease two casserole dishes. Olive oil is a great choice and if you’re not worried about calories try bacon grease.
Step 8. Stuff those cabbages! Put about 1/4 cup of the mix or less into each leaf depending on it’s size, roll the cabbage together like a burrito, and place it into the first dish. Not all cabbage leaves will be big enough to roll, this is especially true if it’s garden cabbage. I set aside all of the small cabbage leaves for the second casserole where I made a lasagna type dish: there is a layer of cabbage, layer of filling and then another layer of cabbage.
Step 9. Spread the tomato sauce on top. The rolled cabbage is pictured left and lasagna cabbage is on the right.
Step 10. Bake covered at 350F for 1-1/2 hours or cover and freeze. I froze the second dish for later this month when I’m too busy to cook.
Step 11. Serve and eat! The cabbage rolls turned out so well that I ate until I was stuffed. Please don’t mind the Styrofoam, plastic, and terrible photo quality, we ate the dish at a friend’s house.