While throwing out some not so pretty noshings, I figured I would just top it off with the queen of not-so-good-looking but damned delicious meals. Cabbage rolls. I mean seriously, it doesn’t even sound pretty. Cabbage. Roll. The things I think of when you combine those two words aren’t even right.
That is, until I tried one. Now, I’m not claiming these to be authentic or anything like that. I have never had a cabbage roll before and wouldn’t know an authentic one if it hit me in the face. There is no rice in the stuffing, it’s an all meat explosion. The seasonings play off of it very well and the small dab of cinnamon and nutmeg goes a long way (Flavors I wasn’t used to in a red sauce). And I’m not sure how cool it is to leave cabbage rolls in your fridge for someone else to find later, but I swear on day two these were even better.
- 1 medium head green cabbage cored
- 1 tbs vegetable oil
- 1 onion minced
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 1 teas ground ginger
- 1/2 teas ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teas nutmeg
- 1 28 oz can tomato sauce
- 1/4 cup light brown sugar
- 3 tbs red wine vinegar
- salt and pepper
- 2 slices hearty white bread torn into small piece (do not use Wonderbread)
- 1/2 cup milk
- 3/4 lbs lean ground beef
- 3/4 lbs uncooked bratwurst casing removed
Place cabbage in a large bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap and microwave on high until outer leaves of cabbage are pliable and translucent, 3 to 6 minutes. Using tongs (because this will be a steam bomb of hate), carefully remove the outer leaves; set aside. Cover with plastic wrap again and repeat steps as needed to get 15 to 17 large un-torn leaves.
Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering. Cook onion until golden, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg, cooking until fragrant about 30 seconds. Transfer half of the onion mixture to a small bowl and reserve. Remove the Dutch oven from heat, overthe remaining half of the onion mixture, stir in the tomato sauce, sugar, vinegar, 1/2 tea salt, and 1/4 teas pepper.
Pulse bread and milk in a food processor to a smooth paste. Add the remaining onion mixture, beef, bratwurst, 1/2 teas salt, 1/4 teas pepper. Pulse until well combined (about ten 1 second pulses).
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Trim the tough ribs from the cabbage leaves, overlap cut ends from the middle, and add 2 heaping tablespoons of meat mixture to each leaf before rolling tightly and placing seam side down in a 13 x 9″ baking dish.
Pour the sauce over the cabbage rolls and cover with foil. Bake until the sauce is bubbling and rolls are heated through, 45 to 50 minutes. Carefully remove foil, and bake, uncovered until sauce has slightly thickened and cabbage is tender, another 15 minutes.