Monday, November 15, 2004

Dinner, Pork, Cabbage, Rice/Barley: Töltött Káposzta (Stuffed Cabbage)

Ingredients:

  • 1 large head of green cabbage (a large tight cabbage will work best)
  • approximately 1 pound of ground pork
  • about 1 Tbsp of oil (canola, vegetable)
  • 1 cup of barley or rice (your choice)
  • 1 large onion diced
  • 1 half of a can tomato paste
  • about 10-12 small pieces of smoked meat (like ribs or smoked sausage)
  • 1 small can saurkraut drained and rinsed
  • salt and pepper to taste

Preparation:

  • Cut into the cabbage loosely around the core, essentially loosening it from the core. It won't come out but will make it easier to peel off leaves as you will need to for the next step.
  • In a large pot, slowly boil the cabbage untiil you can peel off leaves one at a time without breaking them up. They will be soft, but not mushy. You should be able to peel one or two leaves off and let it simmer slowly for another few minutes and then peel another one or two leaves off. Continue doing this until you have no more leaves the size of your palm left. Put the free leaves in a dish that they can cool down in so they can be handled easily.
  • In the meantime, heat the oil and saute the onions until softened.
  • Mix the raw ground pork, the onions, the barley or rice and salt and pepper to taste.
  • The next step is a little tricky because if you don't roll the cabbage leaves correctly they will fall apart during cooking. You should first take a leaf (start with larger ones until you get the hang of it) and shave off the large vein from the center of the leaf taking care not to make a whole. Set the vein portion aside. If the leaf is very large you may want to spit it into two down the center.
  • Hold the leaf in the palm of your hand so that it's curling upward.
  • Place 1 large spoon of the pork mixture in the center.
  • First fold the bottom up, then each of the sides. They should all overlap.
  • Next, take the top and squish it into the ground pork mixture. This will almost create a fingerprint in the top of your cabbage roll. The pork should not be visible. They will look like little cones with the bottom almost pointy and the top larger.
  • Complete all the leaves and stuffing that you can in this same manner. Place the stuffed cabbage rolls aside.
  • Next in a larger tall pot place a mixture of saurkraut (not much unless you like things on the sour side) and the cabbage veins in a thin layer on the bottom of the pot.
  • Next put a piece or two of the smoked meat.
  • Now put a layer of stuffed cabages. Don't pack them in too tightly as rice or barley does expand with cooking.
  • Continue layering until they have all been place. The key is to intermix the saurkraut/cabbage, smoked meat and stuffed cabbages nicely. End with saurkraut and cabbage on top.

Cooking:

  • To cook, add water to just cover the cabbages and put a lid on the pot.
  • Cook on medium-high heat until it begins to boil.
  • Once boiling, turn the heat downr so that it just simmers.
  • Simmer until the meat and rice/barley is cooked. Usually about 1 hour. You can always open one up and test it if you can't tell. If the water evaporates, add a little more as you want this to be a little juicy.
  • Next mix the tomato paste and a large spoonful of juice from the cabbages. This will help you pour the paste on top of the cabbages.
  • Pour the paste on top of the cabbages and continue cooking for another 15-20 minutes.

Serving:

Serve 3-4 cabbages per person with thick sliced bread that you can dip in the juice and soak it up. Add some of the loose cabbage and smoked meat to each persons plate as well.

Storing:

This item freezes extremely well after cooking. You can store for 3-4 months in the freezer and heat in the microwave when you want one. I recommend putting 3-4 rolls in a quart size freezer bag with loose cabbage, juice and smoked meat. That way you can take one serving out at a time and heat.

7 Comments:

At November 16, 2004 at 11:34 AM, Blogger 3LeggedCat said...

I love large tight cabbages almost as much as I love tight cantaloupe.

 
At November 19, 2004 at 11:51 AM, Blogger biscuit22 said...

Hey! That stuff! Sounds like....too-roshe-tasta - put that on here! Bacon and sour cream are the key ingredients to all great things...(okay, most great things) XOXOXOXOX

 
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