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Friday, November 11, 2016

Beefy Cabbage Rolls

This recipe is unlike traditional cabbage rolls recipes because it demonstrates how to prepare them sans les tomate,  (without tomatoes), except toward the end when spaghetti sauce is poured on top.



Ingredients:

  • 1 head of cabbage, large
  • 2 lbs. lean ground beef
  • 1 1/2 cups long grain rice
  • 5 cups beef stock
  • 4 Tbs butter
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1 measure of DIY Cajun Seasoning
  • 1 measure of DIY Real Beef Onion Soup Mix
  • 1 can spaghetti sauce

I began preparing this meal with a large head of cabbage, cored and trimmed. I like to trim the cabbage down to the 2nd or 3rd leaf layer because this usually illiminates those leaves which are damaged or blemished.

Next, I steamed the intact head of cabbage in a programmable 20 qt. portable oven for 20 minutes at 300 degrees F. until all its leaves were wilted. I would rather steam than boil because of taste.

Before using the portable oven I added about a pint of water to create the steam I needed to wilt the cabbage head. After 20 minutes of steaming I removed the cover and allowed the cabbage to cool.

In a heavy cast iron skillet the vegetables were sautéed in butter until a translucent texture was reached then they were set aside in a bowl for later use.

With the same skillet, the ground beef was fully cooked on medium heat with the DIY Cajun Seasoning.

Next, the previously cooked vegetables, 2 cups of beef stock and the DIY Real Beef Onion Soup Mix were added after which I continued to simmer and stir for about 10 minutes. The cooked meat and vegetables were set aside and allowed to cool, also.

I boiled 1 1/2 cups of uncooked long-grain white rice with 3 cups of beef stock for 20 minutes (on low simmer) and then thoroughly mixed the beef and cooked rice together. I placed a lid on the pot, this time, to keep the mixture warm.

Notice that no tomato products were included in the stuffing. I didn't want to compromise the desired heavy beef flavor I was aiming for.

The leaves were then stuffed with the beef/rice mixture. One large spoonful of mixture (about a cup) was used in each leaf. The cabbage leaf was then tucked-in at the sides and rolled; (for safety reasons I don't use toothpicks).

I layered the rolls starting at the bottom of the slow cooker and while working my way up I positioned each roll with the leaf flap down. At serving time I was careful to remove each roll from the cooker without spilling its contents.

Finally,  much to my chagrin, I poured some spaghetti sauce on top of the rolls. The red color of the sauce was pleasing to the eye and looked similar to traditional cabbage rolls but without interfering with the beefy taste of the filling inside. This is the only time a tomato product is used in this recipe. You don't get as many complaints from the traditionalist this way.

Since the beef/rice mixture was already cooked I confidently set my slow cooker dial on low heat for several hours until my guests arrived. One large head of cabbage yielded around a dozen rolls.

This method takes a little more time to prepare than traditional cabbage rolls. But, if you are a beef lover like I am then you will discover it is well worth the extra effort.

Bon Appetite! ... Enjoy!

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