Thursday, May 8, 2014
One of my Facebook friends, Cynthia, requested a Cabbage Rolls recipe from me. The only one I had at the time was an Asian inspired cabbage roll, not a traditional one. So I told her I would develop one for her. And I'm so glad I did! We loved them, especially my daughter. And (drum roll please) they only took 15 minutes to assemble and I cooked them in the crockpot! My kitchen heats up the house quick in warm weather, and it's been in the 90s here. The crockpot is my best friend right now. And I even did all the prep work and assembly for these the night before and put them in the crockpot in the morning.
As always, when I develop a recipe, I do a lot of research. I read a lot of other recipes and usually combine my favorite parts of each one to suit our tastes. I found that a majority of the recipes use a little sugar in their sauce, so I went ahead and did that. And I took the leftovers to work to get a consensus on the sauce. It was split 50/50 over whether people thought that the sauce should or shouldn't be sweet. They all loved them nonetheless. I think I'd prefer it not sweet, but my kids and half of the people at work liked the sweetness. So that's a decision for you to make.
Another point I'd like to make is about the salt. Now, I am very heavy handed with salt, and that's why I never give salt measurements in my recipes except when baking. I did find that, even with me salting the meat mixture and the sauce, that it still needed salt at the end. Even my non-salter friend added salt to hers. So that's something to take into consideration. But it's nothing that the good old salt shaker couldn't fix.
But, in the end, it was delicious, moist, easy, and everyone had a full belly.
1 lb ground beef
1 head green cabbage
1 bell pepper, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 C uncooked minute rice (the one with a five-minute cooking time)
Salt & pepper, to taste
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon beef bouillon paste (powdered will work too)
One 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
1/8 to 1/4 C brown sugar (optional)
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 T Worcestershire sauce
Separate about 10-12 leaves of cabbage off of the head. (I got 11 cabbage rolls.) Put the leaves into a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil. When it boils, only boil the leaves for about 2 minutes. Drain and cool. Chop the remaining cabbage because that goes into the bottom of the crockpot. Waste not, want not.
Meanwhile, mix together the ground beef, rice, egg, bell pepper, garlic, onion, and some salt and pepper. For the sauce, whisk together the crushed tomatoes, sugar, lemon juice, beef bouillon, Worcestershire, and more salt & pepper, to taste.
To assemble, take a cabbage leaf and place about 2-3 T of the meat mixture down the center. Fold or roll the cabbage around the filling. Put the chopped cabbage in the bottom of the crockpot. Pour about half of the sauce over the chopped cabbage. Place the rolls, seam side down, on top of that and top with remaining sauce. Cook them for about 6-8 hours or until the meat is cooked through. Serve with the sauce and the extra cabbage.