Of Food and Love recipes: cabbage cabbage rolls dinner Italian sausage
by Mommy Hobbies
In my napsack stash
There are a few things I fear in the kitchen. A couple of them being: bread…while the other is cabbage.
Well, not really the cabbage itself, but using the cabbage to wrap a tasty filling in. I don’t know why, but I have this idea in my head that it’s just going to be soooo much work and I just don’t have the time for that mess.
This recipe put an end to that. Was it super quick? No. Was it a 30 minute meal I could slap together in between church services? Absolutely not. But, if I had an hour…I could totally make these. As a matter of fact, I did.
All I’m going to say is this — who ever thought of using cabbage to wrap up meat, rice, veggies and whatever other delicious combo was a genius. I love me some cabbage rolls, y’all. Gud stuff right thar.
However, I’m used to the Russian version which usually contains beef, rice, carrots, onion…that sort of stuff. This was very, very good in its own right and my children really enjoyed them. The recipe also called for plum tomatoes in sauce, I opted to use crushed tomatoes instead. I heated the sauce then added salt and a little sugar…
When it was all said and done, I decided that these could make another appearance at our table, but I’d like to add a little rice to the filling, just because that’s what we like, not for the taste factor, because the taste was spot on. I have to say that my favorite part was the Parmesan that she added.
It’s recipes like these make you stop and bow to culinary royalty like Smitten Kitchen. That woman is amazing. (this is off her wonderful blog…)
I made these and served it with mashed potatoes…I’m sure it could have been rice, but I was at a loss for a good complimentary carb.
Italian Stuffed Cabbage :: courtesy of:: Smitten Kitchen
Makes approximately 12 cabbage rolls; a serving can range from 2 (petitely) to 3 per person.
1 large savoy cabbage
7-ounce (200-gram) hunk of bread (see above), crusts cut away, torn into small scraps (you’ll have about 3 loose cups of scraps)
2/3 cup (approximately 150 ml) whole milk
14 ounces (400 grams) or approximately 4 plain pork sausages (I used sweet — i.e. non-spicy — Italian), casings removed
1 small sprig of sage, finely chopped
1 small sprig of rosemary, finely chopped
2 tablespoons grated parmesan
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 28-ounce can peeled plum tomatoes (I used a 28-oz can of crushed tomatoes instead)
2 tablespoons (30 ml) olive oil
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
Tsp of sugar (optional. to add to the crushed tomatoes)
Prepare cabbage: Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Discard any messy or broken outer cabbage leaves and carefully peel 12 nice, large leaves. (I think the cabbage can tell if you’re in a rush, and will tear more easily. Work carefully. That said, a torn leaf will hardly ruin the dish.) Blanch leaves for about 30 seconds to 1 minute (you can do a few at at time), until wilted, and spread out on towels so that they dry and cool.
Make filling: Place bread scraps in bottom of large bowl and pour milk over. Let sit for a few minutes, then mash it gently with a spoon until something close to a paste forms. Mix with sausage meat, herbs, parmesan and a pinch or two of salt and black pepper; I find this easiest with a fork or bare hands.
Make the cabbage rolls: Lay your first cabbage leaf on the counter. If it doesn’t want to lay flat, pare away some of the thickest stalk (with a paring knife or vegetable peeler) to make it easier. Form some of the filling mixture into a golf ball-sized round. Wrap cabbage leaf around it (see Note about shape up top) and pin at the top with a toothpick. Repeat with remaining leaves and mixture.
Make the sauce: To prepare your tomatoes, either break them up with your hands (for bigger chunks), run them through a food mill or roughly chop them right in their can with scissors (what I did here). In a heavy saute pan with a lid or a medium (5 to 6-quart) Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and saute for about 30 seconds (just until golden, not a moment longer) then add the tomatoes, bringing the sauce to a gently boil. Season with salt if needed. Add cabbage packages, arranging them carefully in the pan so they all fit, cover the pot and gently simmer them for 25 minutes. Remove the toothpicks and carefully turn the rolls over, cooking them for another 25. Remove the lid and simmer for another 10 minutes to cook off some of the wetness. They’re all cooked now, but if you can rest them for another 15 minutes before eating them, the flavors settle and they become even better.