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Cabbage Rolls



For the whole week before Christmas I was craving cabbage rolls, and not just any cabbage rolls, but the ones that my ex BIL used to get at a German Butcher's he frequented in  Windsor, Ontario.  They were probably the best cabbage rolls I have ever eaten.  I am also mighty fond of the M&M ones . . .  but I have to admit my homemade ones are also very, very good!  It is an old, old recipe which I have been making for many, many years and always the first thing to disappear at a buffet table.


Last week when I was craving the ones from Windsor however and the M&M ones, I got to thinking to myself, and we all know what happens then.   I decided to adapt my own recipe to what I felt the difference was between theirs and mine.


And I have to say I was well pleased with the end result!  It was a simple change really . . .  I decided to use pork sausage meat instead of beef.  That's it.  And they were very, very close to what I was craving . . .  very close.


My mother used to make cabbage rolls when I was growing up, but hers were very different than mine.  She did not use any rice at all, and she only covered them with a tin of chopped tomatoes, there was no sauce per se.  She also added peeled potatoes an carrots to the pot. They were pretty good.  I was never fond of the meat part, but I did like the cabbage.


My father was never fond of the cabbage.  We had a deal between us.  I gave him the meat from mine, and he gave me his cabbage. We both felt like winners.  My mother also cooked hers entirely on top of the stove, in her old Wearever aluminum dutch oven.  I do mine totally in the oven. 


Generally speaking I like to use a white cabbage, or ordinary cabbage . . .  Nothing fancy here. No Savoy or any other kind.  Just ordinary cabbage.  This time I tried a sweetheart cabbage, which is just like a white cabbage except it has fewer leaves, looser leaves and they are rather elongated.  It worked very well.  I was quite pleased with the results.



The sauce for mine is a really simple sauce.  Passata (tomato sauce), lemon juice and brown sugar.  I used the Cirio Passata, again because it is my favourite kind, with a lovely rich tomato flavour.  There is nothing there except for sieved tomatoes.  Thick and rich, never bitter or sharp, quite pleasant . . . you can almost taste that Italian sunshine.


I have to say I totally ADORED them made with sausage meat.  TOTALLY!  These were soooooo tasty.  I made them on the eve of Christmas Eve, meaning the night before Christmas Eve.


The recipe makes exactly one dozen cabbage rolls.  We each had two and then I froze the remainder in 4 roll lots to take out later on this winter on a day when I am over busy or feel like treating myself.


I don't know what is normal to serve with cabbage rolls, but I served them with rice and some peas and carrots.  It really was a fabulous dinner.   I think it is safe to say I will be making my cabbage rolls with sausage meat from now on!


*Cabbage Rolls*
Makes 12
 

This is an adaptation of our favourite cabbage roll recipe.  Delicious, moist and meaty with a fabulous sweet and sour sauce.  These always go down a real treat.  I often double and triple the recipe when I take them to pot luck suppers.  I always bring home an empty dish. 


1 pound extra lean sausage meat
(I use a pack or sausages, skin removed)
55g raw long grain rice (1/4 cup)
1 medium free range egg, beaten with a fork
1 medium onion, peeled and grated
1 small carrot, peeled and grated
1 fat clove of garlic, peeled and crushed
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
12 wilted cabbage leaves, thick veins trimmed to thin 


For the sauce:

100g soft light brown sugar, (1/2 cup packed)
60ml fresh lemon juice (1/4 cup)
240ml tomato passata  (1 cup tomato sauce) 




Preheat the oven to 190*C/375*F/gas mark 5.  
 
Place the meat into a bowl and mix together with the rice, egg, onion, carrot, garlic, salt, and pepper.  Mix well.  Shape into 12 equal sized ovals.  Place each oval at the wide end of a wilted cabbage leaf.  Roll up, tucking in the sides to completely encase the meat.  Place, folded side down, into a greased baking dish.  Mix together the brown sugar, lemon juice and tomato sauce.  Pour this sauce over the rolls.  Cover tightly with a lid.  Place the casserole into the heated oven and bake for 1 hour.  Uncover at the end of that time and bake for 20 minutes longer.  Serve hot.


These were as close to perfect as any cabbage roll could be.  I don't know why people think that making cabbage rolls is really fiddly.  It isn't really.  Well, not for me anyways.


I hope you will try these and make them with sausage meat when you do!  I think you will agree with me when I say these are Da Bomb! Bon Appetit! 



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Marie Rayner
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3 comments:

  1. they look really good,, cabbage rolls are a food our family has always made and eaten,, I use the same recipe my grandmother made, there is brown sugar sprinkled over the sauce covered cabbage rolls in ours but we don't use sausage meat, I can see how this wold be a very flavorsome addition!

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  2. Replies
    1. Make some for New Years Monique! Oh, they are so good. I don't make them near often enough! xo

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