Pierogies and Cabbage Rolls go hand in hand…so it only made sense to me to make a batch of Dairy, Egg and Beef Free Cabbage Rolls to go along with the Egg and Dairy Free Pierogies.
Little did I realize what I had got myself into…very time consuming…all worth it in the end …don’t you think?
Growing up with British parents, Cabbage Rolls were something my mother had never seen…let alone made in her childhood.
Thankfully, a dear friend of the family (thanks Anne) took my mother aside and walked her through the process. I grew up watching and learning all the tricks…except the one my mother-in-law passed on to me…stay tuned… I will reveal her trick of the trade…for Cabbage Rolls are her speciality.
The Cabbage Rolls my mother made were made with a combination of beef and pork, onions, rice, an egg and salt and pepper to taste. Rather than cook the meat and onions together, her recipe mixed the raw meat with the egg, cooked onion, salt and pepper then the Cabbage Rolls were covered in tomato juice and baked…they were more meat than rice Cabbage Rolls.
I loved them! As a child, it was the only way I would eat cabbage!
I attempted to make an adapted version of my mother’s recipe when Michael was younger…he was not impressed…I was disappointed.
My boys have grown up with my mother-in-law’s version at family gatherings. Her more rice than meat Cabbage Rolls started to appeal to Michael…taking his cue…her recipe was chosen as the one to adapt.
On our drop in New Year’s Day, she walked me through her Cabbage Rolls. We tossed around possible measurements of ingredients and I relayed them to memory.
Dairy, Egg and Beef Free Cabbage Rolls
1 head of cabbage
1 lb ground pork
1 cup basmati rice
1 small onion, diced
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp ground pepper
1 796 mL can of whole tomatoes
1 1.36 can of tomato juice
In a large pot, bring a small amount of water to cover the bottom of the pot to a simmer.
Peel outer cabbage leaves off, rinse and place in the bottom of a large casserole dish.
Mother-in-laws trick: Cut around the stem of the cabbage, place in the simmering pot with the stem up, pour boiling water over the cabbage, and cover.
Cabbage leaves easily peel off. Continue to pour boiling water over the cut end of cabbage as you remove leaves. I thought this worked quite well…needed to cut a little now and then to release the leaves…other than that, they came off quite easily.
In a fry pan, brown ground pork with diced onion, salt and pepper until fully cooked. Drain fat.
In a pot, add 2 cups of water, 1/4 tsp of kosher salt, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and 1 cup of basmati rice. Bring to a boil uncovered. Cover and turn to low and cook for 20 minutes.
Add rice to meat mixture and combine.
Forming Cabbage Rolls
Place a cabbage leaf as flat as you can. Trim or cut away the thickish end for easy folding.
Fill cabbage leaf with some of the meat mixture.
Fold over two ends of cabbage over the meat and then the alternate ends.
Place seam side down in casserole dish.
Continue until all the meat has filled all the large leaves.
Pour can of tomatoes and juice over the cabbage rolls and cover.
Cover the cabbage rolls with the smaller leftover cabbage leaves.
Cover with a lid or with foil and bake at 325 F for 1 1/2 hours. Tomato sauce should be bubbling.
Tip: I will be freezing the leftovers for another quick go-to meal.
P.S. Michael deconstructed his cabbage roll stating that he liked the cabbage separate from the meat and rice. Not quite liking it completely…but on his way…baby steps!
Matthew needed prompting…he is not a vegetable lover…however, in his words, the cabbage was…”not bad”. He is also the ketchup lover…probably helped that the cabbage had been infused with tomato flavouring.
Andy loved them…seconds were taken…he loved the chunks of tomato and lots of sauce.
I loved them too…my favourite part being the bits of cabbage that stewed in the tomato sauce with the chunks of tomato.
Are you a Cabbage Roll loving family?